A few days ago, at one of the gorgeous Cape Town beaches, we watched a man surf away with joy. What a delight to see the winds sway him up and down with the soft landing upon the waves, I presume. As we watched him, I engaged my mind to learn some lessons and thought, for surfing to be fun and enjoyable, the winds must be strong enough to sway the surfer and his/her instruments in the desired direction. Surfing happens, though the winds will invisible remain. Their strength is felt, yet the source of their power to move the surfer and his object remains unseen. The waves too must not remain still if surfing is to maintain its enjoyability, with a gliding that brings exhilaration and freshness to the mind. Not only does the ripple effect caused by the waves prompt the surfer to realize movement is happening, but also their refreshing bounces upon the surfer’s skin, bringing a soothing delight and utter wakefulness.

Care is needed in surfing for it cannot be the sport of the careless. The arms must remain attached to the surfing equipment, or else the surfer is going nowhere. Or may be, going to the depths. Underneath the ocean waters are also “surfers at home,” and unfortunately, sometimes, we are not welcome guests in their territory. A few hours ago, we learned that some fishermen drowned at the same bay where we enjoyed watching a surfer maximize his day! How so tragic!

Great surfing lessons we garnered. Prior to this beach moments we had spent time at a local Christian bookstore where I saw a title on sale. From R159.95 to R35, it seemed the book shouted, “buy me.” Deep inside I know it’s a title I had always wanted. It’s about Bethany, the surfer who lost one arm to a shark at sea a few years ago. Stories of faith find a place in my mind, and this is one of them. I realized God had more surfing lessons for me to learn, even from the pages of Bethany’s book.

We have taken notice of Bethany because of her God given power to conquer fear and to wade through the rough waters of life, sure to reach her destination because though the sea’s pathways be trackless, there’s one who sees our pathways. Though the waves may toss us sometimes, there is One willing to guide us to the shore at all times.

So, what does surfing teach me about faith?

“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear.” Isaiah 35:3-4

My mind goes back to a near-drowning experience I had upon the seas of Sierra Leone when our boat’s engine stalled. I am taken to the snorkeling moments we enjoyed in Thailand and the beautiful corals we saw under the sea. What a mighty God we serve!!!

Faith’s journey may seem turbulent sometimes, but it is so enjoyable.

You don’t want to miss out! Get into the boat!

Bethany lost her left arm to a fourteen-foot tiger shark while surfing.
Bethany lost her left arm to a fourteen-foot tiger shark while surfing. 

Faith will always remain fruitful regardless of the challenges.

The arm of faith holds onto the arm of the Omnipotent One for daily graces.

Faith winks at trials and whispers, “Upon you I have fertile ground!”

Faith sings through darkness and through light with a joyful sound!

Faith is like being in open water, losing sight of land, holding onto the oars of your small boat, then and only then you realize your total dependence on the Navigator. It renders the heart, not a beat of fear, but of courage, because the Navigator is in sight, the boat is moving though the waves be rough, and the shoreline is the destination. Then you get to walk on land again, and you look back at the sea and its immense vastness ,and you know you couldn’t have made it alone. ~Beryl Nyamwange