Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published Nov. 4, 2006. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.
Author Willa Cather said, “There are some things you learn best in calm waters, and some in the storm.”
I’m all for the calm waters myself. Give me intelligence, a good role model, a written code of ethics for any given situation, and I’ll do my best to learn the life lesson those gentle currents hold.
Throw me into a situation where I’m turbulently tossed by waves of conflict and criticism, and I’m totally lost about how to cope. I will say or do the wrong thing nearly every time.
I guess that’s one of the intriguing things about life. We get the test first and the lesson later.
It seems everyone I know is involved in some kind of turbulent relationship. Unfortunately, many of those troubled waters are in churches. No wonder the Apostle Paul talked so much about the need for unity among the believers.
No matter how long we’ve walked in our respective faiths, it seems we never get much beyond the level of little kids on a playground.
We fight for our favorite swing.
We elbow our way to the best table in the cafeteria, or we try to take out the person in line ahead of us.
We argue or we snub.
We spend more time talking about people than we do talking to them. When we do talk to them, we either say hurtful things or we use body language and a tone of voice that lets them know we’re miffed at them.
Boy, I hope the Lord’s patience is equal to His love. If it isn’t, we’re all in a heap of trouble.
So many people are unhappy in so many churches these days. It’s evident the problem goes way beyond our area. When I see more and more book titles such as “Why Church?” or “How to Worship,” I’m convinced there are lots of believers looking for something they haven’t found in their own churches.
I know. I’ve been on that kind of pilgrimage myself.
What I’m learning is that the answers are not to be found in our churches. We have to find the solutions inside our own souls.
Our perception of our churches, our beliefs, our attitudes about our fellow believers — these are the factors that determine how well we navigate this voyage called life.
We have to find the answers in a one-on-one face-off with the Master of the wind and waves. We need to focus on who He is and what He wants in each of our lives.
We need to ask Him to give us the right words to say, the right actions to perform in order to bring peace into troubled waters.
Most of all, we have to allow His love to come into us, then let Him direct us into the ways we can share that love with others.
He’s the safe harbor. He’s the calm spot. That’s where I learn best. In the shelter of His arms.