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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Into the Wild Gray Yonder...

Give up your selfish ambitions...Follow me

The fog grew thick and heavy; the waterway we were traversing became quickly inundated with a dense, gray shroud.

Our activity: kayaking.

Our location: Cape May, N.J.

Our surroundings: Well, we couldn't see them.

Heavy fogs around Cape May, common occurrences in spring and early summer, find their origins over the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the "SPRING" boldly displayed on the calendar, old man winter still has his icy grips on the ocean temperature, often keeping it around 50 degrees farenheit, even into early June.

When an East wind comes along, that icy chill comes off the ocean and onto the land. Once the cold air meets its warm, humid counterpart on shore, a heavy mist is produced, and the result can be simply awe-inspiring. But if you're up a certain creek when the fog rolls in, even the proverbial paddle won't help you much.

Fog has the effect of letting you only see what is immediately ahead of you. A person in fog finds themself in a bubble: an isolated area that only gives enough visibility to move forward.

If I were alone in my kayaking venture, I would not be ashamed of the fearful, anxious thoughts that would occupy my mind. Terror would be a natural, and appropriate, response to such inexperience. Going solo would infuse each turn with a sense of dread; every step of the journey would naturally be a source of restlessness.

But these feelings did not concern me on that gray morning. In fact no thoughts were further from my mind than those of anxiety and dread.

For I had a guide. A friend who had kayaked that creek many times before; a kayaking "brother" who was familiar with all the ins and outs of the way we were going.

And I had an extra reason to be confident in my mentor: he lived on the creek. In fact, from his house, he could observe the area from every perspective. My trust in him was founded in the unmatched knowledge he possesed.

Because of my leader, I could paddle freely, peacebly enjoying every moment. Every stroke; every ripple in the creek; every drop of water that fell from my paddle, all of these things were mine to cherish, for a guide had come along side me, and was seeing me safely to my destination.

The paralells between my trip up the creek and my pilgrimage through life sprang to mind with an unearthly vibrancy. I thought back to those moments when I wanted control over where I was going. I remembered those times when I thought I was the master of my destiny, when I thought my plans would lead me on..

Only to find those plans lead to dead-ends.

Through a biblical re-education, I found that moments of self-confidence are redeemed through trust in the Lord. However, it would be a deception to put forth trusting in the Lord as a simple, easy task. To do so would be an insult against the fight of faith; a slur against the lives led by the heroes of the faith.

In an era when humans seem to run everything "on-demand", belief in an invisible Deity seems ludicrous, especially believing in his control of the future. An idea like "Trusting in the Lord" is nonsense in a culture abundant with independent, self-made, and strong-willed individuals.

And so, the fight begins for the Christian; the struggle to live counter-culturaly. Each morning, we must take up the shield of faith. Every evening, we must remind ourselves that God is on his Eternal Throne. Every moment, we must fight to lose control.

This is not optional, as those who come to God "must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those diligently seek Him." As we build our faith in God, we gradually lose our trust in our own plans. And as control slowly slips from our hands, we find a Friend who has the best perspective on life: past, present, and future. We encounter a Shepherd who finds great happiness in giving us the Kingdom. We find a Guide who takes us through this foggy world, step by step, precept by precept, until His plans are fulfilled...

Believe it, or not.

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