From Jim O'Brien
March 08, 2019

Catch the Wave

Hi Friend,

I confess that the ocean has a magnetic attraction for me. Early in our married life we were blessed to live in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, only two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. On stressful days it was common for me to take a short walk to the beach just to relax by the ocean. There was something calming about relaxing on the edge of the surf, feeling the tide move the sand beneath me while watching the clouds crawling across the sky above.

Once, in late summer, a hurricane developed about 150 miles off shore and the normal 1 to 2 foot waves increased to 6 foot. Instantly it became a surfer's paradise. Surfboards magically appeared, as did the bronzed bodies of local beach enthusiasts who were willing to skip a day of work to catch the right wave in pursuit of the ride of a lifetime.

While I did not own a surfboard-and never spent enough time to master the art-I enjoyed body surfing, and the huge waves were an enticing opportunity. So I eagerly joined the group that swam out to the place where waves were breaking. As I started the swim back toward shore I caught the perfect wave. It propelled me forward with such force that my body was literally in mid air in the curl of the wave. This was followed by the crash of water on my back that was the unmistakable power of nature. I had caught the wave!

There are a couple of rules for surfing. First and foremost, the surfer doesn't make the wave. It's external to his control. His job is to recognize the right wave when it comes along. Nor can he fight it-he must be in harmony with nature if he wants to enjoy the benefits.

Second, the surfer must act in accordance with the environment around him. When you are sufficiently tuned to nature's momentum to recognize the right wave you position yourself by paddling. If you are moving fast enough when the wave arrives you will become one with the wave and it will do the rest. It's an exhilarating experience.

There is an analogy to our religious experience with nature's God, as Jefferson referred to Him. Man is reluctant to recognize that there is structure to the invisible spirit world just as there is structure to the wind even though it is unseen. When Nicodemus asked about a spiritual concept Jesus responded, "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going." (John 3:8) Spirit, like the wind, acts according to laws even though it is unseen.

A fascinating event occurred in the life of Daniel. He began a fast to seek understanding about prophetic events. The fast had gone twenty-one days when the angel Gabriel appeared to him with the answers Daniel was seeking. When Gabriel arrived he told Daniel that he had left on the first day of his fast but was detained by the Prince of Persia. We can understandably wonder how an angel of the stature of Gabriel-sent by God, could be detained. He is, after all, a spirit being!

But he continues with an equally intriguing part of the conversation. "Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come;" (Daniel 10:20). Gabriel had to return through Persia and thus fight this demon. We don't understand why a spirit being must go back through a specific geographic area or why certain demons are restricted to these areas. There are things humans don't understand. What we can learn is that even the spirit world is subject to laws.

Ironically, man often ignores the structure of the spirit world because he can't see it. For example, there is a structure of worship. In the first chapter of Genesis God gave us the Sabbath and there is a strong indication He gave the Holy Days. He tells us the times that spiritual events are to occur when He says, "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years," (Gen. 1:14).

Just as God made the moon to have an invisible magnetic affect on the ocean, He also made the Sabbath and Holy Days that affect the spirit in man.

If a man can just catch the wave-the wave of worship-he can experience the power of Nature's God.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien