May Grace Ever Be The Tide

imageI turned forty recently.  I don’t feel any different and apart from the increase of a few white hairs making their way into my stubble I’m told I don’t look the part either.  Yet it seems the responsibility of the masses to remind me that my life is now half over.  Thus was the position I found myself in as I sat across from a friend over coffee on this most recent birthday morning.

“What do you want to do that you haven’t done with the first half of your life?” he asked.

I was at a loss.  In my youth I was all about what I could do for God.  It was a drive born of zeal and facilitated in judgment.  I had accomplished many things.  Yet for all I had accomplished I had left a trail of wounded and broken souls in my wake.  Some I had  broken.  Others I had found in such a state and simply passed them by leaving them to sink.  Worse still, others I had drowned with the waves and weight of my self-righteous judgments.  Regardless, over the past three years I had become haunted by the shipwrecks.

As I reflected upon the inquiry I vocalized a truth that I had long been harboring.  I wasn’t really interested in “doing” anything.  I wanted to “be” something.

“I want to be a man of grace” I replied.

Two days later I was walking the streets of Little Italy in San Diego.  As I traversed the crowd the Holy Spirit began testifying of the truth that every person was a vessel meant to carry the Spirit of God.  Sadly most of these vessels were adrift, lost at sea.  Some were sinking beneath the waves.  Yet for all, this truth remained; only the grace of God can save.

As this somber reality invaded my conscience I passed by a lonely store front.  In another life it had been a showroom for seafaring vessels.  Atop its faded brick exterior was affixed a testament of hope.

“A rising tide lifts all boats”

If a rising tide lifts all boats, may grace ever be the tide.



My shins hurt.  Ache to be precise.  With every step I take they tell me how much they despise me and my tendency to act upon a whim.

It started last July.  I was 39, weighed 205 pounds and felt like crap.  As I sat on my porch swing like a bloated slug I said, “I gotta do something.”  Then on a whim I just got up and decided I was going to run a mile.  I can’t tell you for certain how long it took me to run that mile because I’m pretty sure the space time continuum came to a screeching halt out of pure shock!  All I know for certain is that when everything stopped jiggling and oxygen again returned to my brain restoring conscious thought, I was alive.  No thanks to my whim!

The truth is, what I thought was just a whim last July was actually a catalyst to a transformation.   After recovering from my 1 mile near death experience a few days later I said, “I wonder if I could do two miles?”  I found out I could.  I went on to run my first 5K, then another, then a 6 mile obstacle race through the woods all while carrying an 8 pound sledge hammer!  Ya, that’s me and my hammer on the right…mud soaked and wearing man tights!  By the beginning of October I lost over 20 pounds in under 10 weeks.  Today my shins hurt because I’m training for a marathon.  A race I agreed to run with a friend…on a whim.

Here is the thing.  Whims have the power to kill you; like bringing home a new Ford F150 King Ranch truck without discussing it with your spouse!  A cautionary tale for another day.  But, whims also have the uncanny ability to spur us on to accomplish great things!  Those moments that spring forth from a random “what if” or an “I wonder” like Jonathan to his armor barer in 1 Samuel 14:1-15.  A seemingly random whim of “Hey, what if we went over to the garrison of those uncircumcised dudes?” ended in a slaughter of their national enemies!

Truth be told, some “whims” are actually the Holy Spirit prompting us to step out in faith and make a change.  What about you?  What whim is the Holy Spirit actually spurring you to act on and allow Him to work through?  Trust me…it’s not the King Ranch!!!!