Finding faith along the shore of a lake

The cool Minnesota lake, just one among ten thousands, laps at the shore, its waters pulled imperceptibly, drawn mysteriously, beckoned silently in a single direction. I imagine my life, just one among ten thousands, being imperceptibly pulled, mysteriously drawn, silently beckoned. “Come forth and follow Me,” I hear, turn, and respond, desiring the single direction, the focused goal, the concentrated purpose.

Viewed from afar, from five thousand feet in the air, far beyond reality, the lake manifests itself as uncomplicated, unadorned and undirected. Viewed from nearby, just five feet from the shore, intermixed with actuality, the lake betrays itself as complex, embellished and tenacious. Observing another person’s life, I marvel at the mile-high panorama; grappling with my own life I flounder with the minutia-laden fracas. In my struggles, my lamenting, my insecurity, I find myself comparing, as a wise man once said, another’s highlight reels with my own behind-the-scenes bloopers.

The lake’s rhythmic waves interrupt my internal dialogue, summoning me to further discern once-disregarded details. My eyes gaze across the lake, pausing upon the slack, calm water in the distance. The calm surface reflects, mirrors, and almost-blinds and I’m prompted to recall times in my own life, times when schedules were slack and calendars were calm. Perhaps then my life reflected His glory as the lake reflects His light, but blindingly, unapproachably so. On closer observation, I see lily pads gathering upon the surface of the calm water, reaching toward the sky. But below the surface, decaying plant material is concealed by the lily pads’ conspicuous beauty. Might the surface of our lives, when solely adorned with beauty, perhaps shroud what we would rather not be seen?

But all of the lake is not slack and calm; in fact, most is not slack and calm. The waves sparkle in the sunlight, glisten in the glimmer, dance in the daylight, and reflect the rays. Always searching, changing, shifting. Lives lived within the realm of reality, within the purview of possibility, within the candor of chaos, also reflect His glory but in ways more accessible to all. No lily pads decorate the surface of the choppy water, but neither is there decay and death hidden below the surface. How many times have I longed for tranquil water, certain I then would better reach, represent and reflect my God? But truly in day-to-day life, when I oversleep, burn breakfast, miss meetings, pay bills, and struggle parenting, God’s presence and provision is much more apparent, and welcomed, than in times of quiet stillness. Soaking in the beauty that surrounds, I slowly begin to better understand, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a)