This is a movie based on a true story of a guy named Jay Moriarty, a surfer from Santa Cruz, California. My husband and I watched it a few weeks ago. It was one of those movies that we both felt great about after watching despite the ending. It was a good movie, not because of how it was made but more so of its message. I saw many of my Facebook friends post lines from the movie on their walls clearly showing that many were inspired by it. Although I never did post anything from the movie, but I wrote down a line on my notebook what I felt was at the heart of its message.
The line came out of the conversation between Frosty (Jay’s mentor) and Jay after he saw Frosty surf big waves.
Frosty: “I know how good you are. I’ve seen you out there. You surf circles around those other kids. Those are normal waves. Surfing normal waves is about how you perform when everything goes right. Big wave surfing, it’s a different ball game. It’s about how you perform when everything goes wrong. One bump off the face of that wave and you’re hitting the water like concrete at 50 miles per hour. Then you got a thousand tons of water coming down on top of you. It’s knocking you senseless, ripping you apart and pushing you down to a place that’s so deep and so dark that you don’t want to be there.”
Isn’t living a life for Jesus exactly how Frosty described in surfing the big waves? Isn’t being a Christian about how you perform when everything goes wrong?
The line resonated so much with me; I started contemplating more about it.
The Christian Life
Normalcy is what most of us desire to achieve in our Christian lives. We don’t really want much, we just want normal lives. We have been taught to respond well when circumstances are right and when the waves are normal. Understandably, we do not want to be outside of that. But in being with Jesus, it rarely stays normal. In fact, more often than not being with Jesus means you will surely face the big waves — a lot of them.
Some have even been misled to thinking that by wearing Christianity they will be safe, will avoid the difficult life, and will have an ordinary, normal one. While Jesus promised freedom from our sins and become slaves to righteousness (Roman 6:18), He never did say that we will be free from troubles. Indeed, He spoke of the very opposite of that. He promised that the world will hate us as it hated Him; He promised that they will persecute us as they persecuted Him (John 15:19-20). He promised the great possibility of everything going wrong, for now we do not belong to the world.
We can wake up one morning and see the entirety of things around us on the wrong side of the tracks. How do we respond when all the conditions — the normal waves — we have been trained to face appears to be nowhere near what lies before us?
Do we panic or do we trust God?
When I became a Christian, I saw how quickly my circumstances went from bad to worst. Not a year from becoming a Christian, my mother was diagnosed with advanced stage cervical cancer. The Christian fellowship I used to attend back home was about an hour away from where I lived; when my mother got sick, it became almost impossible for me to attend any worship service and gatherings. A few months after the diagnosis, my mother passed away. Not long after that, my siblings and I received a notice from the National Housing Authority informing us of a huge debt we had to pay in order to keep our house. My sister and I were both working as teachers at local schools that only paid about 10 thousand pesos a month, about 200 USD. Both my brothers were still in school. We received more notices of unpaid debts. We had to make ends meet every month to survive from food to bills to debts.
I almost folded in those times if not for God’s intervention through His people. I was reminded of what I learned from His Word through a faithful friend who shared with me the Lord, prayed, and fasted for me to be saved, of how God promised not to make my life trouble-free, but to make me holy. I felt His overwhelming presence and knew in my soul that He is weaving a beautiful story out of my life in His story the very moment I said yes to be His child. I do not want to be out of His story. I was grateful for the reminder.
My life is far from perfect today, but the Egyptians I saw and fought with during those times are no more.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
I saw God’s salvation and what He accomplished for me. I was given the privilege to experience much of His faithfulness, love, and power in the practical sense as testified to where I have been and to where I am now. But God is not done with me for there is still more of Him I have yet to encounter.
I know how good you are. I have seen you out there. You surf circles around those other Christians. Those are normal waves. Surfing normal waves is about how you perform when everything goes right. Big wave surfing, that is living profoundly for Jesus, it’s a different ball game. It’s about how you perform when everything goes wrong. One bump off the face of that wave and you’re hitting the water like concrete at 50 miles per hour. Then you got a thousand tons of water coming down on top of you. It’s knocking you senseless, ripping you apart and pushing you down to a place that’s so deep and so dark that you don’t want to be there.
So, what do you do? Do you panic or do you trust the One who loves you?
My story is not the only story that demonstrates God’s faithfulness in the lives of those who choose to stay firmly grounded in Him even when life turns against them, who choose to trust Him instead of panicking. I know of many close friends who have gone through big waves in their lives one after the other almost without rest, but have elected to remain in Him through prayer, His Word, and His fellowship knowing full well that He will take care of them no matter what. (I simply do not have the time and space to share all of these astonishing stories of God’s stupendous acts of love, faithfulness, mercy, and grace in His people. ) These people have come out victorious on every battle and have become powerful witnesses for God.
Their victories weren’t because they were good; it was because of how they responded, of how they performed under their circumstances.
Of Trusting God.
It was because of Him that they overcame whatever stood before them. We are never good enough or strong enough to sustain ourselves in the battlefield. If we relied on ourselves being good, then we can be assured to fail and break quite easily.
Life in Jesus
Nothing about life in Jesus is ever going to be normal.
21 Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
What Jesus declared here is not something you would call normal. He is calling us to live an unconventional way of life that those who are of the world could not grasp. Know that choosing to be with Him is choosing to be not of this world, which basically puts you in the category of abnormal. Know that choosing to be with Him is choosing the dangerous life, not the safe one.
Know that choosing to be with Him is choosing to surf the big waves.
May 3, 2013
11:48 p.m. @ Krabi, Thailand
© 2013 Kezia Lewis. All Rights Reserved.