The Lord of the Board
My dear family, when you find yourselves tumbling into various trials and tribulations, learn to look at it with complete joy, because you know that, when your faith is put to the test, what comes out is patience. What’s more, you must let patience have its complete effect, so that you may be complete and whole, not falling short in anything. If any one of you falls short in wisdom, they should ask God for it, and it will be given them. God, after all, gives generously and ungrudgingly to all people. But they should ask in faith, with no doubts. A person who doubts is like a wave of the sea which the wind blows and tosses about. Someone like that should not suppose they will receive anything from the Lord, since they are double-minded and unstable in everything they do.
Our congregation has been journeying through the book of James as we have started this year of 2021. When I think of the book of James it always brings my memory back to a guy named Darrin. I was working at PGA (Professional Golf Association) headquarters at the time. Darrin was the son of the Senior Vice-President of the PGA tour. Darrin had been hired and fired five different times from the PGA tour. He just couldn’t seem to get it all together. Darrin’s father found out that I was a person of faith and asked if somehow I could be of help to his son. I wasn’t sure exactly what to do but I asked the Lord to guide me in the process of ministering to Darrin.
I found out that Darrin was a surfer. The Lord whispered in my ear and told me, “Come, I will make you a surfer of men (or something like that). Hey, what can I say, I just write ‘em the way God gives ‘em to me. (Ha! Ha!) Darrin would soon teach me lessons about surfing and in the process I would mirror those lessons back to Darrin about how God desired to help him negotiate the waves of life.
Darrin taught me how I was to approach the waves of the sea. In order to negotiate a wave properly, it required a humble approach. I am not in charge of the wave. The wave is always in control. I am to submissively respond to what the wave is doing not the other way around. Trying to approach it the other way around only led to knots on my head and lungs filled with salt water. As I practiced this mirroring approach to the waves, it led to a patience and a wisdom in regards to the waves that I had never had before. I was able to return the favor to Darrin by using surfing lessons to talk about life with the Lord. When I left that PGA job, I had the blessing of seeing Darrin have a new approach to life and a new walk with the Lord.
James (younger sibling to the Lord) calls from the shores and says to us, “Come see my big brother Jesus in action.” Are you so tired of being tossed about to and fro by the winds and waves of life? Come see a man whom even the winds and the waves obey. If you would but ask him, the Lord of life would give you His wisdom. He can show you what a real faith looks like. It is a faith that is characterized by patience. This kind of faith does not shake its fists in response to the storms of life. Real faith receives waves of trials not as a trespasser but a teacher. Testing is no longer viewed as a punishment, but as a purveyor of truth.
It is hard to imagine anything more unstable than standing on top of a slippery board traveling over a swirling, twirling tunnel of saltwater. My friend Darrin made it look effortless. It gives me a bigger picture of what faith training under trial can bring. The more I give myself over to the tutelage of the teacher, the less hold and sway that comes from the winds and the waves. Most of us seem to have such a small view of faith in these days. The most I can muster is of a Jesus who somehow saves me from drowning. James would call us further up and farther on. Come to Jesus-the Lord of the board-he’ll teach you to walk on water!