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By Richard Blackaby

People learn at an early age that they live in a universe of limits. Children don’t want to go to bed, but they are made to anyway. They don’t want to sleep, but they inevitably do. They may defiantly shout “no” when their parents tell them to do something, but the adults’ will ultimately prevails.

Some limits are imposed by others. Our parents. Our teachers. Our boss. Some limits come from nature. Our size. Our strength. Our health. Our intelligence.

Perhaps the most tragic limits people face are ones they place on themselves. This week, my wife and I had the pleasure of taking our annual beach trip with our three adult children and their families. I currently have three two-year-old grandsons. They have visited the beach every year of their brief lives. But this year I was certain they would discover the exhilaration of playing in the waves. I could hardly wait for them to experience nature’s amazing playground. But I was soon disappointed.

Two of my three two-year-old grandsons were less than thrilled with this new activity. One steered a path as far from the water as he could, claiming the “fishies” were going to get him. I realized the ocean’s beauty was not as evident to my grandsons as I thought it would be.

I must say, the easiest thing to do would have been simply to allow the children to stay in the condo and watch endless episodes of Paw Patrol. The kids would have been content and never realized what they were missing. But I would. So I gently led those grandchildren to the water. We played games. I covered our feet in sand and pretended to get upset when the waves washed them clean. We made sand “cannon balls” and launched them into the incoming waves. I taunted the waves for being “baby” waves, rather than “mommy” and “daddy” waves. Before long, the boys were having the time of their lives. The same child who had run for the hills in fear was now calling the waves “babies” and daring the ocean to send something bigger his way. What a joy it was to watch the kids enjoy the rest of the week at the beach!

I caught a glimpse of what God must experience as He seeks to lure His creatures from the safe confines of their condo into the glorious oceans He designed for them to enjoy. Some people tentatively take God by the hand and allow Him to lead them into the oncoming waves. Others run away in fear.

We are typically the worst culprits in limiting ourselves. We refuse to forgive someone who hurt us, robbing ourselves of the freedom we would have experienced if we had. We don’t venture out in faith, so we never experience the wonder of God’s provision. We view ourselves as ordinary, so we never attempt the extraordinary. We don’t consider ourselves leaders, so we never step up to make a difference.

Many Christians today are anxiously watching the waves from the safety of shore, but far fewer are willing to wade into the ocean.

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