The Fallen Kayaker and Recognizing our own Shortcomings (John 15:18-16:4)

There is a lot of stuff I could write about this week after an incredible trip to Puerta Vallarta.  Instead of boring you with details about the beautiful weather and resort and the incredibly revitalizing time we had on the beach, I will narrow the topic down to one funny experience we had yesterday.

Since we had to leave for MO – (Misery) in the early afternoon, we got out on the beach early.  We found two loungers in the front only a few feet from the crashing waves.  We could see dolphins playing out in the water only about 500 yards off the shore.  Right next to us was the activity building where you could find kayaks, snorkels, windsurfs, etc. to use.  Immediately after they opened, two women headed out into the ocean in the kayaks.  They made it look easy as they paddled through the waves out into the calm water.  We watched them head for the dolphins and could tell they were having an amazing time with them out there.

After 30-40 minutes they decided to head in…this is where the entertaining part of the story begins.  The first one made it in pretty easily.  The waves were pretty big and the guy on the beach was waving her to come in fast and ride the wave right on to the beach.  She followed in textbook style.  Her friend was about 50 yards behind and came paddling in furiously.  Then a wave of fear washed over her face (pun intended) and she nearly stopped paddling, it was obvious that she sensed the height of the waves around her.  By this time she was only about 15 yards from the beach, but while she was looking at the waves parallel to her, a huge wave was coming behind her that she could not see….the guy on the beach was waving at her to paddle frantically.  She managed a weak smile in an attempt to hide her fear and then froze possibly thinking that everything was going to be OK.  That certainly was not an accurate assumption…..

Leigh-Ann and I were locked in on this drama from the front row.  We could see on her face that she thought she had made it in to the shore.  We could also see the guy on the beach waving frantically.  In addition, we could see this big wave behind her to which she was oblivious.  The next five seconds would have made the perfect home video.

In an instant the wave caught up, carried her to the crest and then sent her into a nose dive right in front of us.  It was almost surreal as her face changed from fear to absolute terror…the kayak went from being parallel to the ground to being perpendicular to the ground.  The waves pulled her out of the kayak like a vacuum and covered her like a blanket.  When the wave rescinded its beating on this poor woman, she quickly pulled herself off the sand and said, “I did great until the landing.”  You think?  I hate to sound cold, because this whole crashing the kayak into the beach is something that I could easily see myself doing.

This woman’s reaction to her landing mishap is so parallel to our own reactions when we are faced with our own failures in life.  We naturally tend to focus on all the things we have done right instead of taking a realistic look at what is wrong in our life, accepting God’s grace for the situation and experiencing forgiveness and restoration.  I guess the story I shared above is so incredibly comical to me because nobody that saw the situation remembered how well she could paddle (they probably didn’t even notice), but they did remember the “landing episode.”  In addition, no one on shore blamed her for being a “poor kayaker” in fact at least Leigh-Ann and I were just glad it wasn’t us pulling ourselves off the sand.

If the “fallen kayaker” had simply said, “Wow, I could really use some help with the landing next time” she would have walked away like a champion.  Why is it that we so often try to take focus off of our mishaps by reminding everyone of everything we do that is right?  Let’s all make a commitment to recognize our own shortcomings and embrace God’s grace.

This Sunday we will study John 15:18-16:4…I hope you can take a few minutes to review the text and spend some time praying for the service as well as thousands of Christians in the world who are being persecuted for their faith.

Living the way Life is meant to be!



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