I’m on a read-thru-the-Bible regimen and was having a hard time slogging through the brittle first part of Isaiah! But then this amazing watery metaphor jumped out at me from ch. 48:
If you had only listened to Me and paid attention to what I told you, your peace would have been like the gentle flow of still waters and your righteousness as powerful as the waves of the sea (v. 18).
Lisa and I just enjoyed an idyllic week of vacation in Oceanside, where the highlight of our evening schedule was to stand side by side on the pier and watch the waves quietly roll in. Surfers are still out, determined to catch that last brief ride. Some waves are larger than others; there are surges of energy that don’t pan out. Others crest and crash too soon. But for sure, the waves just keep coming.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if my Christian witness was as reliable as the Pacific’s endless waves? (Okay, that’s a faulty example; forget I said that.) But what if – for the entire body of Christ – it was known around the globe that our collective righteousness and fidelity and unselfish kind deeds were as faithful as the waves coming up onto the shore and bathing a weary world’s blisters and hurts?
Why do the waves keep coming? Well, there are trillions of gallons of water out there. That’s the grace of God flowing from Calvary. There’s also the gravitational tug of the moon and surging currents: promptings from the Holy Spirit. We don’t see all those things. But as the sun faithfully sets behind the far golden horizon, yes, you do see the waves and the delicious, comforting splashing sound they make as they plow inexorably toward us.
The Message paraphrase adds this nice twist: Your life would have flowed full like a river, BLESSINGS rolling in like waves from the sea. That takes the anxiety of performance right out of our hands; even the good we do is God working through our transformed hearts, blessing others through the cool bath of our obedience.
And finally, those surfers in their wet suits surely did enjoy catching a thrill ride through the gathering twilight shadows. When the church bands together and offers healing and kindness, the whole world gets the opportunity to catch our wave and ride along with the blessings.