I spoke the words as I stepped into the murky waters of the lagoon. Being a Minnesota native and an adventurer, I took the lead even though I whispered a prayer along the way. Eric and the kids followed me as we walked on what appeared to be a sand bar through the dark, waist deep water, 100 yards or so to the other side. We also had to hold up all of our valuables including cell phones, car keys, beach chairs, umbrellas, cooler and snacks so they wouldn’t get wet. I not only prayed we wouldn’t fall into a hole or get sucked into the mud, but that we wouldn’t lose or ruin anything of value either. And that we wouldn’t come face to face with a shark, alligator or any other antagonist creature in the brackish waters.
We were at Tiger Tail Beach on Marco Island and the reviews boasted this was one of the most beautiful beaches in Southwest Florida. We knew that pristine white sands and gorgeous turquoise waters awaited us on the other side. And so we marched on. We couldn’t see our final destination but we moved forward in faith that we would be rewarded after our adventurous journey. Now we could have taken the long way around which consisted of a mile walk, but since we saw another group cross the lagoon and the guy renting paddle boards nearby encouraged us to take the short cut, we decided to go for it.
I could immediately draw parallels that day from the journey we took across the bleak waters of the lagoon to our Christian faith and the walk He calls us too. Oftentimes, God will ask us to step out in faith and it will not look pleasant, easy or desirable at the outset. Perhaps you can only see the dark waters, the dangers that lie beneath the surface, the unknown, treacherous path and the possibility of losing something of value. And that fear holds you back and makes you want to just camp out in safety on the shore.
Today, we can look around and see the fallen nature of our world and the effects it has on all of us. We hear stories of pastors and worship leaders falling from the faith and turn on the news to see another mass shooting. We question if we even want to leave the “bubble of safety” in our homes to step out into the world, let alone take a stand for our Christian Faith. I have felt the same fears grip my heart at times and have had the desire to just hide away with my loved ones.
And then He reminds me yet again, the safest place for me and my family is in the center of His will. He is not calling me or you to sit idle, to hide or to run away. He wants us to keep moving forward, to keep trusting Him, to keep doing what He has called us to do and to take a stand for Him. Isaiah 26:7 say’s “But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them.” I can trust that if He leads me to it, He will lead me through it.
As we all made it safely across the lagoon that day we took a trek through a narrow path of mangrove trees. We didn’t know how far we had to lug all of our beach belongings, but just around a short bend the ocean waves could be heard and we could feel the white sands beneath our toes. And then we took in the majestic view. We made it! The reviews were right, the beach stretched on forever and the waters were inviting, clear, shallow and warm. Beachgoers relaxed in chairs, hunted for shells and bobbed up and down on the gentle waves. The journey paid off. Our risk was rewarded. The beach did not disappoint. In the same way, God can be trusted. He knows the best way. He has the best plan. And He will watch over us and our loved ones as we move forward and take the next right step into what He has called us to do.