He has tattoos and long hair pulled back into a ponytail. He wears swim trunks and carries a green surf board. He's wet from head to toe.
I look at this man down the shore from me tonight and think, "Oh cool, a surfer."
By all accounts, he looks the part. But something doesn't add up.
Over and over I watch him grab his green and white board and run excitedly toward the sea. He paddles into the foaming sea caps and...
I watch him lightly paddle over each wave as it comes, just bobbing in the same depth.
Wave after wave pushes him slowly down the shoreline. This seems to be his goal. He just paddles out and... floats? Just deep enough not to hit the bottom. Laying on the board like it's a little boat meant to transport him down the coast.
After several minutes, he grabs his board and walks out of the salty water onto the sand speckled with raindrops from the storm only an hour ago.
It takes him nearly ten minutes to walk his board back up the beach. Finally he drops it and collapses onto the ground next to it, clearly exhausted from the strain of his routine.
He looks like a surfer. He has a board like a surfer. He's even in the waves!
But is he surfing?
At the end of the day, this man is not a surfer. Why? Because surfers surf!
As I watch his head bob up and down in the waves from my sandy seat on the shore, God speaks to my heart:
Rylee, that's the kind of Christian you are being.
Ouch. That one hurt.
I love God. There are many ways in which I have obeyed Him even when what He called for made little sense or required sacrifice. I am submerged in the Christian water with my Christian tools.
But too many days, I am still not surfing.
There are risks I'm not willing to take. There are things I am unwilling to do. There are days I tell myself I am ready to go surfing, but I run in only to bob in the waves instead.
I walked down to the water and began speaking to God. I am so frustrated with myself! Faith and obedience and excitement for the gospel make sense in my head, but there are areas of my life to which I still cling.
I imagine that every day, for each and every one of us, there will be a battle in some area of surrender or obedience where God says to go surfing and we get really close but stop short of the full immersion.
After an hour or so of watching the surfer-looking man float down the shoreline, I pack my things and stand to leave. I look out one more time to see where Mr. Green Board has gone.
And there! I see him rising and falling with the endless ocean, paddling out past the caps to join the other surfers waiting for the perfect wave. He was all in. He was surfing.
Now it's our turn.
God presents us with endless opportunities to say yes to Him. He wants us all in every time. And even after we only go halfway out of fear or pride or selfishness, He gives us yet another opportunity. He is steadfast.
No matter the situation, it is never too late to say yes to Jesus.