Have you ever gone to the beach for the day?
You find a good spot, put your things down and head for the water’s edge.
You dip your toes in, it’s quite chilly so you pull them right back out.
You put them in again. The longer you keep them there, the more used to it you get.
Soon, it really doesn’t feel cold anymore.
You take a few more steps in. Same process.
As you make your way in little by little, you need a little time to get used to the coldness on that part of your body. Before you know it, you’re in. You’re having fun. Jumping and splashing around.
Then a strong wave comes up from behind you, knocks you down.
At first you’re startled. You lose your footing. You might swallow some water, even choke a little.
Fear creeps in. But then you find your balance again. You’re back to playing.
More waves, you’re up, you’re down, you’re up again, and you’re having a good time.
All of a sudden, you remember your things back on the beach.
You look straight ahead, where you left them. You don’t see them.
Did someone move them? You scan up and down the beach a bit.
You realize no one moved them, but the waves and the currents and your playing caused you to drift away from your starting point……
When I dipped my feet into things a Christian woman had no business dipping her toes in, I became like this beachgoer. It didn’t feel right at first, I even pulled back a little. But the more I stayed in those waters of temptation, the easier sin became to play with.
Sure I got knocked down sometimes, but I got back up and went right back to playing.
Then I remember.
I look back to where I started, for what I left behind.
I look for Jesus.
I don’t see Him.
Did He leave? He must have left….
For a long time I thought He had.
I believed He was so disappointed in me that He left.
He left me out there in the waves I ventured into on my own.
I knew better. I made the choice.
And He left.
But wait! I think I see Him!
Yes! I do see Him!
He didn’t leave.
I’m not sure how I didn’t see Him before, maybe it was the sun or the saltwater in my eyes.
I don’t know…but He’s there. And His arms are wide open, bidding me to come back to Him.
There are a few scenarios that can play out next:
I got myself into this mess and I need to get myself out.
This is like trying to get back to the starting point against the waves.
You head out in the right direction. You have good intentions.
You begin to fight your way back against the waves. Against the current.
You get knocked down even more than you did before. You get tired. You get weary.
You look at where you’re going and you don’t seem to be any closer than you were when you started back.
You’re getting frustrated. You can’t do this. What were you thinking? You’ll never get back there. You aren’t strong enough. It’s not going to happen. You might as well give up. Stay where you’re at. Maybe try again when the waves calm down. Might as well have some more fun while you’re still out there…..
I’m just going to run right out of the water, right back to the shore and run back to my waiting Savior!
At first glance, this seems like a good option, but be aware: if the lure of those waves is not dealt with, it can be much easier than you would believe to get caught back up in those waves when your toes hit the water’s edge again. If this is the option you choose, you must realize that you cannot do this in your own strength and that you must allow the Lord to walk you through some real truth-digging-soul-searching, which brings us to the best option…
Throw your hands up right where you are and motion for your Lifeguard to come and rescue you!
Let Him walk with you back through the waves.
It will still be difficult, but you won’t be alone and you won’t be doing it in your own strength.
If it gets to be too much He will carry you, He will lift you up out of the water.
In the process, as you cling to Him through the waves of adversity and that truth-digging-soul-searching, He will transform you into something you may have never dreamed was possible:
You will begin to look like Him.
And THAT is what restoration and freedom is all about!