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Catching the Wave

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Every summer my wife, Betty, and I spend two weeks at the beach. It is a great time to relax, unwind and plan for the upcoming year. It is our “margin” time. I enjoy walking on the beach and watching the early-morning activity—mostly others walking and looking for shells that washed up during the night.

I am intrigued by the surfers, trying to catch a wave or two. They climb on top of their boards and paddle away from the beach, looking for that perfect spot in the ocean just before the swells become breakers. They wait for just the right moment and then begin paddling furiously toward shore.

At this point one of two things happens: If the surfer has positioned himself properly and accurately anticipated the timing of the waves, he is launched in front of the breaking surf—riding effortlessly toward the shore. Instead of paddling, he stands atop his board, seemingly propelled by an unseen hand—gliding to his destination, appearing to use nothing of his own energy. He has found his sweet spot!

However, other surfers also paddled from the shore to a similar place in the ocean. They, too, watched the swells for just the right moment and paddled furiously. But instead of the thrill of an exciting ride, they simply rose and fell—having been left behind by the wave as it rushes toward shore.

While I’ve never attempted to ride the big waves, I feel an affinity with those who do. I know what it is like to be almost in the right place, at the right time; to paddle vigorously only to be left behind as the wave moves forward without me. I’ve also experienced the thrill of being propelled by the unseen hand of the Holy Spirit, relishing the ride of my life!

I’ve seen it happen in our denomination, too. At times the movement of the Spirit has been so forceful that God’s people seemed to glide in front of the wave, reaching the unreached, taking the message of the gospel to responsive people in our neighborhoods and the nations. At other times the wave seems to have moved forward without us. I’m not sure why, only that we haven’t always caught the wave.

In my March 1 column, I mentioned some special people whose example is valuable to us today. First Chronicles 12:23–37 tells the story of David, about to catch the wave and ride it all the way to the throne of Israel. The writer identifies groups of armed men from all the tribes who united with David to make him king over Israel after Saul. Verse 32 calls attention to a particular group—the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”

I believe that we in The Alliance need to be like those men of Issachar. We have opportunities and challenges in our rapidly changing world that require that we understand our times, know ourselves and prepare to be responsive and innovative as we catch waves we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. The waves are larger and coming faster than ever before. We are poised to ride the surf of His plan and energy—and reach people and places where the darkness is great.

Our core value says “Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change.” Will you join me as we understand our times, take faith-filled risks and make essential changes to ride the wave of His purpose, in His energy and to His glory?

Past Alliance Life Issues

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