Helpless in Paradise

maxresdefaultWaves rolling over us can be gentle and relaxing. But sometimes they can be downright scary, and even dangerous.

At mile marker 88 of Route 19 on the Big Island of Hawaii there is a soft, sandy beach known as Manini’owali. Volunteering for a missionary organization in Hawaii has its perks, so we crept off base on Sunday for a few hours to see what all of the fuss was about.

In Kua Bay, where this beach is located, every once in a while a few waves break in from the outer ocean. This is where it gets interesting … and a little dicey. When it happens, you have two choices. First, you can break for shore as quickly as possible, although it is tough to outrun a wave. Alternatively, you can swim into the waves and ride them well before they break. This also requires speed and is sometimes impossible to achieve.

This is where I found myself. I was in between. I was too far from shore to avoid the strong undertow, keeping me from being able to get away from the waves on foot. And I was too far from the swells to swim into them, exposing me to the break.

So with the sun reflecting off the turquoise water and the laughter of kids on the shore to one side and the howls of surfers and swimmers up on the swells to the other, I was trapped. A wave would come, I would dive underneath, come up and try to run to shore. But like an underwater treadmill, the undertow nullified my efforts and merely kept me in place. So I would turn around and consider trying to swim up to the swells but not before another huge one would begin to break on me so I would go back under.


Now this didn’t last forever. Eventually I found my footing and got myself out of that in-between place.

No longer caught in that wonderful, awe-inspiring, dangerous zone, I came out grinning and tired. I was ready to head back to base.

That got me thinking. Isn’t this just a wonderful metaphor for where our family is at this current time? Too deep to go back to the shores of our former life at home and too far from the swells to be swimming in the midst of the ministry we’ve been called to, we are here in Kailua Kona serving as volunteer staff/leaders for a team of world changers on the cusp of something big.

I cannot wait to swim out into the swells with all of these guys. In the meantime, we are getting tumbled about and are often tired out, but we’re smiling. It is beautiful what Jesus is doing here and how he is preparing so many to go out into the nations!

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