When the hope of heaven fills your thoughts, the Light of My Presence envelops you. Though heaven is future, it is also present tense. As you walk in the Light with Me, you have one foot on earth and one foot in heaven.
The fact that I’m a novice paddle boarder was made very evident the other day.
The sun was finally out, the lake wasn’t busy yet, and I didn’t have anywhere to be. So I enthusiastically ran to the boathouse and grabbed my white and aqua paddleboard. It was a recent purchase, and I had only been out a couple of times.
I made my way out onto our dock with the paddle in one hand and the board precariously under my arm, the nose occasionally shifting forward and hitting the steel deck sending out a resounding “boom,” (so much for trying to be a discreet rookie). I carefully lowered the board into shallow waters and made sure to follow my instructor’s directions of starting out on my knees for two minutes until I got my sea legs.
We had bought a tippy paddleboard as they go faster and my daughter and I like speed. The water was a little rougher than the other times, but I adjusted pretty quickly. Soon I was sailing along enjoying the sunshine, yelling out to nearby fishermen if I paddled over a school of fish to let them know the hot spots they were missing. I happily watched the ducks and the loons keeping me company. I admired the variety of houses and trees along the shores.
Yes, I was paddling right along, happy as a puppy with a ball, with the sunshine burning down on me.
At some point, the fact that it was really windy hit me. I decided it would be wise to turn around as I had already gone a good distance.
That’s when I started to realize I might be in trouble. Turning the paddleboard around, which I had found incredibly easy before, was not working. At all. Anything I tried. Eventually I was able to maneuver back around by making a very large circle with just minor adjustments.
It was then that I fully realized how foolish I had been. The wind had been at my back, as well as having picked up speed. No wonder I had been feeling like, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” Now the wind blew full-blast in my face and was continuing to push me down the lake. I noticed the waves were close to white-cap levels. I paddled to what seemed like little to no avail. I wondered how I could have been so oblivious. When did the wind pick up? Does our cove I started from protect us from the wind? Was I just really that checked out?
Then a rush of rolling waves hit hard from a boat roaring by in the distance. I almost capsized. Of course my life jacket was sitting back at the boathouse.
I zeroed in on the closest dock which sported a bright red umbrella to mark my progress, or lack thereof, more rightly. Sure enough. I was going nowhere fast.
I reminded God that he controlled the wind and the waves and that I would appreciate a little help right now. And I asked for strength and wisdom.
Well, he didn’t calm the waves like I requested. But, finally I landed on a strategy that seemed to bring some success. When the wind was blowing full-out, I paddled just to maintain where I was. When the wind would die down for those few seconds between gusts, I paddled like a lady who was being chased down by a bear (or in this case maybe a sea creature). I also slowly made my way closer towards shore.
There was another strategy that helped. As soon as I thought I could, I started looking for home. When I could see it, it brought a level of peace. I started focusing my eyes on the white automatic door of our boathouse. I found that when I took my eyes off of it and focused on the rough waters and board-crashing waves, panic would set in. When I focused on home and just doing the work to get there, I was in a much better state.
As I got closer to home, the Lord reminded me of how important it is to have this same mindset in all areas of my life. That when the waves of evil, trouble and stress rock my life, I need to refocus my eyes heavenward.
Doing this reminds me that what I am going through is temporary. It reminds me that I have an amazing glorious place waiting for me where a loving, powerful God will rule with justice and where there will be no dangerous waves that can harm me.
It reminds me that I have a Savior there waiting with open arms, ready to help me right now in my troubles when I call out to him, even if the waves continue.
Sometimes the way before you appears to be blocked. If you focus on the obstacle…you will probably go off course. Instead, focus on Me, the Shepherd who is leading you along your life-journey. Before you know it, the obstacle will be behind you and you will hardly know how you passed through it.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. —Psalm 62:8
Is there an area in your life right now where you need to adjust your eyes heavenward to seek guidance and a peace-filling perspective?