Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ripples



For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself" Romans 14:7
A couple years ago, we were staying in a timeshare in New Bern, NC. The beautiful lake behind the units seems to be a never-ending source of messages from God.
On this day, as I gazed across the lake's calm surface, a trio of ducks swam into the scene. As they approached, ripples spread out before them, generated by the paddling of their small webbed feet. I watched as the ripples gradually spread across the lake all the way to the opposite shore. Four more ducks joined the first three and their ripples joined in the action until the entire lake was affected by the action of these feathered friends.
I thought - there is surely a spiritual message in this powerful scene. Sure enough, God planted a picture in my mind of the influence each person has on the world around them. Even more, the influence everything has on everything else. Just as every raindrop ripples outward, every action (or even an inaction) affects the world around us.
Imagine - movement originating with this small group of ducks continues flowing outward forming concentric ripples that grow until they fill the entire lake. Those ripples affect not only the surface, but everything they come in contact with throughout the lake and even its immediate shoreline.
Lest you think "What I do or say doesn't really matter in the scheme of life" - consider the effect of small things - how about "the straw that broke the camel's back" or the missing screw that caused a plane to crash or the arrow shot at random that "happened" to strike King Ahab all the way across the battlefield.
The story of King Ahab's death is fascinating. Here's a bit of background on old Ahab. Ahab was king over Israel for 22 long years and as recorded in 1 Kings 16:30, he, "did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him." For one thing, he was married to Jezebel and followed her advice -- need I say more? If the old saying, "Behind every good man is a good woman" is true, then in this case, the opposite is equally true.
King Ahab's end dripped with irony and is further proof that whatever God wills to happen WILL happen. 2 Chronicles 18 and 1 Kings 22 both record the full story, but in brief, Ahab joined forces and went to war against the Syrians with Judah's King Jehoshaphat. God's prophet prophesied Ahab's death in that battle. Thinking he could protect himself from harm during the battle, King Ahab disguised himself as a common soldier so that the enemy would not target him. Near the end of the battle, the Bible says, "Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor..." (22:34).
That archer's arrow was like a ripple spreading across the lake. His action had an effect that he never dreamed could happen. A nation's history was affected by the archer's action. We might wonder if he ever discovered that it was his arrow which felled the great King Ahab. Whether he knew what he'd done or not, the deed was still accomplished.
King Ahab also produced ripples. As his final ripple reached the shoreline, the vastness of its impact was a tribute to the great God who overcame Ahab's futile attempts to save himself from God's appointed end and a further testimony to the fact that nothing in this entire world is random. There is no random in God's dictionary. He is in control of every atom, nanosecond and ripple, and we can rest in the security of knowing He always knows what's best.
What we say and do -- or don't do -- matters. God has a plan and a purpose for everything and everyone. If we fail to carry out our particular life work, who and what will that ripple, or lack thereof, affect? God uses individuals to accomplish His work and one person can make a difference - "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land..." Ezekiel 22:30.
What a blessing and a privilege to know that by God's power and guidance, our ripples can impact eternity. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" 2 Corinthians 3:5.
Remember, God's will WILL come to pass. Isaiah recorded this powerful fact in chapter 46:9-11:
"For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes my counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it."

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