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Have You Paddled Out Too Far?

Beach Lesson #1, 2019

On our first day of our fall beach vacation this year this happened….

I looked out our balcony to see 3 emergency vehicles towing jet skis with lights flashing. Of course, I was curious as to what was going on and went for the binoculars. I could see one of the rescuers also looking through binoculars but pointed toward the horizon. As I continued to watch, eventually a paddle boarder appeared…just this side of the horizon and very far from shore. A girl in a bikini with a hat on, and no life vest.

When she got almost to shore, she got off her board and just relaxed in the water a minute until the rescuer who had watched her paddle all the way in, waved her to come to the shore. When she got out of the water, he went over to her and appeared to be giving her a pretty stern talking to.

I’m not sure how the emergency personnel knew to come out to the beach. Perhaps a concerned person on shore mentioned she’d gone out hours early and had not returned. I actually saw her early that morning as I was enjoying my first beach balcony quiet time for this vacation.

Now, I can only guess at what actually happened. Perhaps she just went farther than she meant to. Maybe the current was stronger than she expected and it was harder than normal to return to the safety of the shore. It’s even possible that she just meant to spend several hours paddling nonstop without a bottle of water or any safety equipment. I really don’t know, but I couldn’t help but wonder.

The point I want to make here is two fold…she made it back no matter how far out she was, and, there were people on the shore who were concerned as they watched and waited.

Since I am always watching for spiritual lessons in life, especially when I am at my favorite place, the beach, I got a beach lesson first day after we arrived. Again, I have two spiritual applications to this paddle boarder’s “rescue.”

Point #1: No matter how far from Jesus we “paddle out”, it’s never ever ever too far to return to shore. Often we think, what we did is too awful, to ugly, too big for forgiveness and restoration. Or we think we are too weak to make it back. If we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us back, in His strength, we can make it.

If this paddle boarder was truly in trouble, I am sure she wondered if she was strong enough to keep paddling her way back to shore. As times, I bet she wanted to give up and just lay down on the board and let it take her wherever the current chose. That is exactly what the enemy would want us to think when we think we have messed up too big this time. Just let it go and let those lying winds take us out to sea. It’s just not worth the fight to keep heading toward shore.

Have you ever felt that way? Take a look at this blog post one of my daughter’s wrote some time ago: Restoration and Redemption. Or perhaps Joy Restored or this more recent post I wrote, Embrace God’s Forgiveness will prove encouraging.

You are NOT too far from God if you will only turn around and head back to shore…His loving arms. You are strong enough to do it with His strength.

In 1 John 1:9 we are reminded that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Such grace! Just keep paddling back and accept that grace.

I recently finished this book by Mary Kassian and I was reminded over and over about how we can be strong by walking in the power of the Holy Spirit as women of God.

Do not listen to the enemy telling you that you cannot come back to shore!

Point #2: No matter what the issue, there are concerned people on the shore, watching and waiting and willing you to come back. They care about your safety, your pain and your fear. They have binoculars and are intently hoping they see you soon.

More important than that, you have Jesus who longs to have fellowship with you once again. Let His strength draw you back into His loving embrace…no matter how far you’ve gone or what you have done. He will never stop desiring a relationship with you.

Maybe you are familiar with this passage in Matthew 11:28-30; “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When you reach the shore, as you return to Him in repentance, you will experience His rest.

Do it now. It is not too late and you are not too far away from shore.

Banner photo by Margit Bantowsky on Unsplash

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