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FAITH: During the changing waves of life events

Rev. Brad McKenzie

My family and I have been blessed to be together this week for our first vacation together since February of 2020.  We have had an amazing week not only enjoying the sun and salt water as we relaxed on the beach, but more importantly, we have cherished our time together making family memories as we have soaked up this time.  My wife and I are increasingly becoming more aware of the fleeting time all parents have in raising their children and desire to provide our family experiences which strengthen our bond as well as provide our kids with intentionally positive memories to shape their future.  As our family closes out this week, I am full of gratitude for a wife who is literally the picture and example of Jesus Christ and two children who are learning from their mother how to love with Christ’s love as they continue to grow into amazing futures.

Like most people, I find watching the surf come into the shore both peaceful and hypnotizing.  I became especially fascinated by watching how objects like seaweed and seashells were impacted by the rise and fall of the surf.  Some of these items were continually brought close to the sand banks just to be washed back out to the open water with the flow of the ocean.  This would happen repeatedly with a number of these items never finding a landing spot.  As I watched, it became a visual metaphor for how life feels for many, including myself.

So many of us feel like we are stuck in the surf getting close to the shore and then having our feet taken out from under us by the sweeping, changing waves of life events.  Just like the waves carrying seaweed and seashells back and forth never, often life seems to be constantly pulling us back out to open water keeping us from reaching the safety and stability of the shore.  How many of you feel you get close to your goals or arrival at a place you have been striving to reach, with life pulling you back out to open water, out of your control?  You are not alone in this experience!

Lately, I have had to come back to this more and more: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

I am especially learning this when it comes to helping raise our kid’s and being responsible for leading our family.  I have been blessed with many wonderful people in my life who have influenced and mentored me to follow the Lord as well as provide wisdom for being successful in life.  Regardless, I have made mistakes which not only impact my life, but the lives of my family.  It seems the waves of life make the most impact when I neglect to trust in the Lord fully, when I place my focus on other things instead of keeping my eyes on Him.  I can guarantee this: the waves of life are never going to settle down.  Even though there are many in life who seem to never be impacted by the waters, all of us have to deal with the ever-changing surge of the surf.

As it seems we may be moving again into days where Covid, the economy, and political unrest continue to come at us, we cannot keep our eyes on the waves of these realities, but on the stability and guidance of our loving Heavenly Father.  As we keep our eyes on the Lord, we find the waves of this world no longer have power over our direction!  You are Valued and Loved, Pastor Brad

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.