Clinging to Shore
“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” What shore are you clinging to today? Is it the shore of tradition or the shore of conviction? Or perhaps it’s the shore of self-preservation or issue-driven passion. The shore is always appealing and is made of many attributes, most of them admirable. But what we do for God is not the same thing as spending time with God. The stance we take on a position is not the same thing as the love we have for a person. There is obvious overlap but loving a person is a much more dangerous place than staking out a position. To love God is to cast off from the shore and into a life filled with sailing on seas of consternation and through storms of stretching. To love God is to have old conclusions challenged and new insights embraced. To love God is to dare to move out into the stormy sea of relationships with others in a way that does not emphasize how wrong they are but how good God is. I John 4:20 puts it bluntly, “Whoever claims to love God but hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” That verse describes people who choose to remain on shore professing a faith that has never made contact with the sea. The sea is that moment when you encounter another and even though you see things you may not like or things you would like to fix, nevertheless you let love for them shape your interaction with them. Such a thing is dangerous but you don’t find the danger sufficient reason to stay on the shore. Remember you cannot be guided by those who have never left the shore. What do they know of the dangers of the sea? Out where the sea is dangerous and the storm is terrible, you quickly learn that God is at work … doing some of His best work. You learn that patience and passion are not contradictory. You learn that restraint and resolve are related. Why not give it a try? Leave the shore of your comfort and perspective. Launch out into the place where love inevitably carries anyone who is willing. It is there that we truly raise the bar on our discipleship.