by Jean Wilund
Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii hosts the spine-crunching big wave surf competition known as The Eddie.
Before this invitational can be scheduled, the waves must be at least 20 feet high. This easily translates to surfing a 40-foot wall of water that wants to crush you.
That’s where our daughter took us to spend the day body surfing. To the home of the Eddie.
That’s why, on that warm December day, when everyone ran in, I ran away.
Fear the Wave
The waves weren’t even close to Eddie-worthy that day, nevertheless, I wasn’t about to let them pummel me like they did that one lady. They tossed her about like a puppy with a chew toy.
The number of souls who dove into those waves astounded me.
The ones who commanded them mesmerized me.
They rode with confidence and joy, as if they had no idea they were riding at the mercy and within the grip of a liquid sledgehammer.
Confidence like this comes either from sheer stupidity or great knowledge.
Those who live to ride again most likely fall into the latter group.
Fear Can Be a Good Thing
The best surfers—and wisest—approach the crushing power of big waves with fear.
Not the run-shrieking-for-your-life type of fear I feel when I face waves, but the well-founded awe and respect type of fear.
They study and know waves—really know them. They memorize their mechanics, the effects of wind and topography on how they develop, and the impact of their break on the human body.
A surfer needs to be able to anticipate a wave’s every movement if he wants to master it.
And go where others fear to tread.
Eddie Would Go
Eddie Aikau, Waimea Bay’s renowned big wave surfer and lifeguard, inspired not only the surf invitational, but also the phrase, “Eddie would go,” because he would go after waves others wouldn’t risk.
In big wave surfing, things can go horribly wrong really quickly.
Surfers who aren’t prepared will likely panic and put themselves into an even more dangerous situation.
Prepared surfers like Eddie remain calm and patient. They’re more likely to come out of the crisis with their lives intact—and actually enjoy the ride.
But even the strongest and brightest surfers can fail and lose it all.
Despite having saved over 500 swimmers and surfers in his career, Eddie lost his own life out at sea. After the ocean voyaging canoe he and others were piloting capsized about twelve miles from shore, he paddled out on his surfboard to get help. He was never seen again.
Life is Like Surfing
Like surfing, life can be an unpredictable and thrilling ride. But it can go horribly wrong quickly.
Even the strongest and brightest can fail and lose it all.
No matter how learned we are or how great our support team is, we can’t control waves –or life.
We can respond using our education and our mad skills when trouble hits, but in the end, we can’t force waves or life to conform to our will.
He alone has limitless power, knowledge, and control. We don’t, but we can know and trust in the one who does.
May You Be Strengthened with All Power
What we know and believe about God determines our ability to respond properly when life crashes over us.
If we don’t know God or the truth of His nature and character, we’re likely to misunderstand what He’s doing. We’ll either view Him as cruel or as powerless.
But if we’ve studied Him to know Him—truly studied to know Him—through the Bible and not simply our experiences or others, we’re best able to ride out the wave. We’ll rest in His strong arms, confident in what we know about Him.
Even as life crashes down, we can remain calm and obey Him, knowing God has the power to bend all things to His will for His glory and our good.
We’ll be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for all endurance and patience with, yes, even joy.
May you be strengthened with all power
according to his glorious
– Colossians 1:11