Back to Shore

I think most families have “remember when” stories that come up at dinner tables time and time again as the years pass. A popular example in our household starts with, “Thad, remember when you almost drowned me?” As kids, my younger brother and I were jumping waves at the beach when we unknowingly worked our way into a riptide. Before long, a game of “who could jump the highest” transitioned into my brother helplessly pushing me under because I was the nearest flotation device he could find. It ended with the two of us being safely pulled to shore by fellow beach-goers, my mom, and a lifeguard (ironically the last one on the scene). We were in control until we weren’t. It was fun until it wasn’t. The event was pretty traumatic at the time, though we laugh about it now.

Life can sometimes look like jumping waves. Seasons of joy can quickly evolve into a situation where we are no longer in control, as our pride disillusions our perception of how far we can go on our own. We trust in our ability to navigate the tide until it sweeps us beyond what we can handle. 

Just as my little brother grabbed my shoulders when we lost our footing, we start looking for something, or someone, to save us when life gets unsteady. 

In Philippians 3:17, Paul instructs believers to imitate him and “keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Paul is leading a rescue mission for mankind – a mission that was set in motion by Christ’s death and resurrection. Although no one is sinless and perfect, God chooses to use His people as extensions of His goodness. That day on the beach, my brother and I were dependent on the ability of someone else to save us. 

God has created sources of hope, and they are thoughtfully dispersed across this globe. The faces of hope are made in God’s own image – the image on which we need to keep our eyes. It is important to not only live a life worth imitating but also to follow the direction and guidance of those imitating Christ. Image-bearers of love can pull us from the overwhelming uncertainty, comfort us and bring us safely to shore. Reality, both joy and sorrow, was not set in motion to be endured alone; so if you have found hope, be prepared to extend it freely. If you are searching for rescue, keep your eyes locked on a stronghold worth following. 

By Bethany Taylor

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