Introductory Note:

Zane Creamer is a Renovaré Institute faculty member and Spiritual Director (mine, in fact!). In this essay, Zane encourages us to ease out of our resistance and into the current of God’s love. Her vision and invitation are filled with hope: “Perhaps learning to cast ourselves into the wide, fierce ocean of God’s love opens possibilities for our transformation.”

—Grace Pouch

Have you ever thought you might drown? It happened to me once as an adult at the beach. The tide was coming in as I was getting out of the surf. Even in shallow water, breakers were causing the sand to churn up which made it hard to find stable footing. I got hit right in the back of the knees by a particularly strong wave and went down. Just as I was gaining traction to stand up, another wave knocked me down and rolled me over! This happened a couple of times before there was a lull in the surf long enough to half walk, half crawl toward the shore. Once out, I fell on my towel, exhausted and scraped up. I felt so small and vulnerable, in just a few feet of water, against the strength of those waves. Even the most experienced sailors and swimmers have a healthy respect for the power, vastness, and mysterious depths of the ocean.

One of my favorite hymns equates God’s love with an ocean: 

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above!”
S. Trevor Francis, 1875

I wonder how often I fight God’s love rolling over me as I did those waves pounding the shore? If I were to totally abandon myself to the power of his desire for good in my life, what would be different? How could I do it? So many years have been spent acting like a perennial three year old learning to do it for myself.” Can I learn dependence on God’s love like learning to be comfortable in the surf? That starts with long walks splashing in tide pools, followed by wading in and adjusting to the shifting sand underfoot. Then moving beyond the breakers, feet leave the sand in rhythm of the surf. In time comes the freedom — to dive into the on-coming waves or to lay back and float on the gentle swells. Potential dangers still exist, but I have greater confidence with every outing. 

Perhaps I can learn to trust the power of God’s love — washing over me, in me and through me. God takes small opportunities to catch my attention and remind me of his presence. He starts inviting me to ask for help sooner. I might risk what had been unthinkable: being misunderstood or found wrong and not defending myself, not hijacking a conversation or drawing attention to myself, finding myself investing in doing good (rather than in not doing something wrong), and having a life that becomes easy and joyous — not because circumstances change, but because relationship with God causes all else to pale. 

God’s powerful love asks me to risk: letting go of righteous anger,” giving up rehearsing lists of wrongs done to me, and guarding myself against potential hurts. It depends on the current of safety that flows through God’s kingdom. While powerful, vast and mysterious, God invites us to be swept up in the current of his love … a place of safety and rest!

Originally published in the Way of Life Coaching newsletter.

Photo by Silas Baisch on Unsplash

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