After my sophomore year of college, my best friend and I headed out to Newport Beach, California, to be a part of a summer beach outreach. I quickly realized that my temperament and athletic ability were tailor-made for surfing.
One day, a storm hit and as I walked into the surging waves, I noticed red flags flying at every lifeguard station. I wasn’t sure what the flags meant, but it was clear that something dangerous was up. No one was surfing.
Not to be dissuaded (my natural temperament), I lunged into the ever-growing waves and was soon in trouble. As I attempted to catch a wave, I went “over the falls” (headfirst over my board) and was plummeted to the ocean floor. As wave after wave crashed upon me, with my surfboard broken in half, another “surfer” noticed me and threw his surfboard toward me. Miraculously, I caught the board and rode to safety.
As I have pondered this incident many times over the years, it seems analogous to marriage. For many of us, we have jumped into marriage full of vigor, excitement and high expectations, only to realize there are relational storms we just couldn’t control. Storms that created waves of which, we are unprepared and untrained to handle.
I believe this dilemma is exactly what God intended for marriage. Stormy, difficult and dangerous. Precisely the ingredients to show us our need to depend on the Holy Spirit. It is, as we discover just how weak we are in our own strength, that the Spirit of God wants to come alongside and empower us with His strength.
Did you know God wrote a “Marriage Manual?” Ephesians 5:18-33, is God’s instruction book for a happy marriage. He opens this section on marriage with these words: “Don’t be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit…” (vs. 18). Paul is admonishing us that, in the same way alcohol can control our life, the Spirit wants to take control of our heart.
I call it “the power to be out of control.” When we surrender our lives and our marriage to Christ; when we give over control of our life and marriage to the Holy Spirit, He enters in with new power from within. The Bible says, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8). The filling of the Holy Spirit is all about power—not your power—His power. It’s only when we give over our strength to His power, that we can begin to successfully surf the waves of marriage.
Surfing in the power of the Spirit,