The wind and the waves

As many throughout Australia battle fires and soaring temperatures, I’m privileged to be staying on Sydney Harbour. The sea breeze is soothing, the harbour waters are cooling, and the views are amazing. Yesterday I went for a paddle on a surf ski, joined by a little dog called Maliki. She’s one of three dogs here at the moment (including our Bonnie) and the only one who managed to clamber onto the slippery ski without falling off.

IMG_5021We headed out against the breeze towards Middle Harbour Yacht Club. After a while the winds built up, gusting around 30-40 kph. I figured we should turn back. We made the turn and, while side on to the waves, Maliki slipped off and started swimming away. I reached for her and promptly fell off also. Dog one way, ski the other way, and the current was strong. I let go of the paddle, reached Maliki and then had to swim to the ski and recover the paddle. Not that easy in high winds. Eventually, I got hold of all three, put Maliki back on the ski, and hung on gasping for breath. The lungs aren’t what they used to be.

IMG_5020Meanwhile, the ski kept floating away in the wind and the waves, with me in the water clinging on, until it bumped into a luxury boat anchored in the harbour. A man poked his head over the side and asked if I was okay. I replied that I was, but I wouldn’t mind a rest! So we tethered the ski and climbed on board. Maliki and I shared a drink with the three couples on board! These people were very hospitable, doted on Maliki, and wanted to know all about where we’d come from. They could see I was pretty breathless and encouraged me to stay a while, until all was well. I explained that I had lung cancer and that I was struggling a bit. They probably thought I was stupid to be paddling on the harbour in these winds, because they mentioned more than once that it would be better to go out in the mornings before the winds got up. Yes, I know! I know!

IMG_5015After the winds had died down somewhat, we made our way back to shore. Interesting afternoon! It didn’t seem that big a deal, but it’s a reminder not to take the sea or my abilities for granted. Sometimes little things can quickly grow into big things. I’d proven the day before how easily I could fall off a stand-up paddle board, especially when two or three dogs try to get in on the action. Next time I’ll take a son, or daughter, or wife to rescue me!

I’ve been involved in rescuing people from the ocean before. And I’ve also enjoyed the help from others when caught in a rip and strong seas. It can be pretty scary. The important thing is to recognise when you’re in trouble and not to be too proud to seek help. Better to look stupid and be rescued, than to drown trying to do it all yourself.

It’s like this when it comes to relating to God. We need to be rescued and God is offering help. We need to drop our pride, our self righteousness, our hostility, and our apathy toward God. He’s reaching out his hand. He’s asking if we need help. He’s offering to take us on board his boat. He’s promising to get us safely to shore. He simply calls us to turn and put our faith in Jesus.

My experience yesterday brings to mind an extraordinary event in the life of Jesus – an incident that shows Jesus’ power to rescue.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)

To be honest, I didn’t think to cry out to God yesterday. But some years ago I did cry out, and he heard my cry, and he rescued me from something far more serious than the wind and the waves. He rescued me from the consequences of my sin and his judgement. God delights in rescuing people and I’m eternally grateful.

7 thoughts on “The wind and the waves”

  1. just home from church where this passage was presented and decided to hop on the computer and see what you had to say. Christianity is an amazing thing.

  2. Roz kindly linked me to your blog, whist I drove her, Mark and a pile of heavy suitcases, to the city yesterday, in preparation for their morning flight to their new home. Thus, this is the first of your posts that I’ve read. First of many, no doubt.
    A timely reflection of pride for me….. Thanks!

  3. Hi Dave I have been enjoying reading your blog and this entry certainly reminded me of the Getaway when I got swept away and had to be rescued. Sam has never let me live that one down!

  4. Hello. My name is Julie Young and my niece Suzanne Davies told me about your web page. I have missed reading you page and I pray that you are well.

    I too have terminal cancer and I have been fighting it for 3 1/2 years. I have ovarian cancer and was told when they open me up that they could not do anything for me. By the Grace of God I have been provided with very good doctors who look after me. We have been blessed with 2 grandchildren and another one due in March since I was diagnosed with cancer. With Gods help I have the strength to continue the battle and the privilege to look after the two boys while their mothers work part time.

    I look forward to reading your message. It really helps reading your journey as you fight the battle.

    Regards Julie

  5. Hi Dave
    I have only recently found out about your illness. I suppose it was only natural that you would turn this adversity into an opportunity to reach out to others. I am thinking of you and Fiona and your family.

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