The Waves of Life

Waves in the Bible are used to help us understand different types of power, especially the power of God. They also help us better navigate the waves we experience in our own lives, waves that can be deceptive, destructive, and discouraging.

The largest wave ever surfed (on record) was 80’ and off the coast of Portugal. One of the most adventurous things I’ve ever done is to go surfing. I loved it! While I didn’t feel like I was surfing an 80’ wave, it did feel huge. Later, when I looked at the pictures of me surfing and saw it was barely a ripple. I was humbled.

Waves have taught me many such lessons:

Our emotions and perceptions can cause the waves in our lives to appear to be something they aren’t, whether bigger or smaller.

Walking along the beach, whether the ocean or a lake like Lake Michigan or Lake Superior, is one of my favorite things to do. The sound, the smell, the peacefulness… all of it together relaxes me. The power of waves varies from day to day, and waves do not always look as strong as they actually are. My son experienced this one time when, at age 11, he was knocked over and scratched up by a wave that was much more powerful than it appeared.

The waves in our lives – whether from our own poor choices or someone else’s – can knock us over and bloody us up.

Cruise ships are amazing vessels. While calm most of the time, they sometimes must navigate ocean storms, usually by going around them. Though I know the captain knows what he’s doing, I still feel uneasy when the waves come up over the windows and the rocking boat keeps me awake rather than lulls me to sleep.

The waves in our lives show us how much we are not in control and how we must trust the one who is in control even when it seems we’re going to be swallowed up and drowned.

No two waves are the same, not in the water and not in a person’s life. Yet, for everyone, the waves of life…

  • Are often not in reality what we perceive or imagine them to be.
  • Are sometimes rough and knock us around, even bloodying us up.
  • Often make us feel helpless.
  • Require us to focus on facts over feelings.
  • Require us to trust God.

Waves illustrate the trials, tribulations, and emotions in life that sometimes overwhelm and overpower us. We often feel a lack of control, and rightly so, because waves aren’t something that we can control. We can only navigate them.

A Maturing Faith

The process of navigating the waves of life is akin to the process of a maturing faith. Two verses in the Bible help us to better understand this truth.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6)

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:11-14)

God doesn’t say we’ll avoid waves, but he does promises us wisdom to navigate them if we ask for it and don’t doubt that he’ll give it to us. God gives us wisdom through a variety of sources, and this wisdom strengthens our faith. Wisdom from God leads to a stable faith that isn’t swayed by everything we hear and see or by our feelings and emotions.

The stability of your faith depends on trusting God for the wisdom you need.