It was a stormy day at the beach today, encouraging lots of indoor activities rather than sun soaking opportunities. Traffic in Destin was wicked, everyone decided to go see “Oz” or go shopping, as the weather outside was frightful. We, too, went to the movie, a different one, though, one that had been out a few weeks. Our aversion to crowds grows worse every day (sigh). We had to do bank, post office, and grocery runs, so we plunged into the traffic with all the rest of the world.
We returned to our home away from home as dusk was setting in. It has been a cool day, stormy and windy, with an ocean surge that has completely obliterated the beach. As we unpacked our stuff, we looked outside and saw that the wild waves were littered with surfers. All across the break in the water were guys (and probably gals) in wet suits, clinging for dear life to their boards, screaming in delight when the waves took them up, then coming up laughing after being tossed unceremoniously under the waves. My first reaction was, “Those people are crazy. It’s cold and that sea is angry enough to eat them.” But, after listening to their laughter and screams of delight and terror, I’ve changed my mind. I realized that they know something important, a truth we all need to take to heart.
Stormy seas teach us how to withstand the calm.
Each of our lives are filled with times of peace and times of storm. We cling to the peaceful times as though they were a life raft, and dread the raging seas of the storm. But, I know in my life, I’ve learned more, felt more, cried out to God more, and fallen on my face more during the stormy times. As I rode out the waves, I would be buoyed up and over, then swallowed under by the might of the waves. But, when calm returned, when peace re-entered my life, I was wiser and more at peace because of the storms I had weathered. I have learned during the storms that there is only One who can calm them, only One who restores peace. I’ve learned that the storm makes me appreciate the peace in a way I never did before. When I can count on no one else, when nothing anyone says brings calm to the storm, I know where to look, who to seek.
“…When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25 Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”
The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”Luke 8:24b-25
There are small storms and large ones. Sometimes, it’s a physical storm, sometimes an emotional or spiritual one. One of the gifts God has provided me to withstand the storms is running, but I even have storms in my training cycles. Learning to persevere and keep on running when motivation is down and my spirits are low has proven to be one of the most valuable learning tools of my life.
Learn a lesson from the surfers. Dive into those waves headfirst, then scream for joy when you come up for air. The pounding you get from those stormy seas will provide you with more joy than you imagined possible when the seas calm.