It was a perfect day. The sun warmed the soft sand of the beach. The air filled with the rich smells of the sea as the waves built and crested in a primal rhythm, beckoning me to come ride. I'd come to Long Beach on the west coast of Canada to get my first taste of surfing. My imagination filled with images of effortlessly gliding along the curl of a breaker as my hand lazily skimmed the wall of water along the face of the wave.
This was going to be epic!
Oh was I ever wrong!
It was indeed epic, but of the ‘fail’ variety. I got tossed around by crashing waves and beat up by currents that wouldn’t let me get passed the impact zone. Once I did get out where the rest of the surfers were ‘dropping in’ and ‘killing it’ with graceful kicks and turns, I was left desperately paddling in a futile attempt to catch a wave — any wave — and live out my dream of being a surfer. I got tips from others, and kind words of encouragement, but it seemed like no matter what I tried I could never experience the thrill of riding the waves.
I have talked with people whose experience with God kind of matches my attempt at surfing. They have a deep sense of longing to connect with the Creator, a realization that their life is in a mess, a fear of eternal damnation, and yet a vast chasm separates them from the God they long to know.
The “Falling Plates” video above illustrates why that chasm exists: despite all the love that God has for us, and the way that He created us to enjoy connecting with Him, collectively humanity cheated on God. We decided that we didn’t want to follow the path He had so lovingly prepared for us and we began to chase after things that we thought would bring us happiness.
We lied to ourselves thinking, “We don’t need God,” and cut ourselves off from the One who is the source of life and love. The more we felt life ebbing away, the more desperate our attempts became to fill the emptiness with our own plans and our own priorities. The Bible calls that rebellion against God “sin.” It is the reason we feel separated from God.
The Good News that Jesus came to bring to us is that even though we have cheated on God and cut ourselves off from Him, His love for us has never changed. In His love, He came to bridge the chasm that exists because of our sin. Jesus allowed Himself to be sacrificed on our behalf to reverse the impact of our rebellion and sin. He paid our penalty, purified our lives, and made a way for us to be united with God again.
If you recognize that you have been cheating on God by following your own path and that you feel helpless to find your way across that chasm, tell Jesus. Let Him know that you are going to trust in Him to pay the penalty for your sin and to purify your thoughts, attitudes, actions, and words. He will do it! “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2Corinthians 5:17). This is where faith comes in: by faith we trust that Jesus will do what He promised. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). So believing in God is not about trying harder; it’s about resting in the assurance that He will do what He has promised.
You might say something like this to Him:
Jesus, I am tired and worn out from trying to make my life measure up to Your standards. I have been searching everywhere to know You but there are so many different ideas of who You are and how to live up to Your expectations. So I have come to the end of what I can do and I ask for You to bridge the chasm between us. I trust that Your death perfectly paid the penalty for my sin, and I am ready to become a new creation, made new by You. I will follow You and trust that You will lead me in every moment of my life so that I can enjoy Your love and Your presence with me always. Thank You for loving and forgiving me. Amen.
If you said these or similar things to Jesus, or you have questions about having faith in Jesus, let me invite you to talk to one of our mentors. There is no cost and I know you will find a mentor who cares about you and wants to walk with you on your journey to Jesus.
My surfing dream has yet to be realized, but in Jesus you will find that the love of God is all that you hoped for and so much more.