As I recently enjoyed some quiet time by the ocean, the wind caught my umbrella and sent it tumbling down the beach. As I chased after it, it occurred to me that no one else’s umbrella was flying away. I retrieved it, stuck it back in the sand, and was forced to hold it for the remainder of the afternoon if I wanted to sit in the shade. Sitting there holding my unruly umbrella, I wondered what made the difference. Why did my umbrella blow away while others sat contentedly under theirs?
After thinking about it for a while, I realized that there were numerous factors to consider when it came to my umbrella incident. Other people may have dug their holes deeper and firmed up the sand by pouring water around the pole. It could be that their umbrellas were smaller and had less for the wind to catch. Or, as was the case on this particular occasion, perhaps I placed my umbrella in a poor location… like right at the end of a wind tunnel! I had walked down a street and onto the beach where I stopped to set things up. I did not realize that the buildings on either side of the street created a breezeway for the wind. Not only were the other umbrellas outside of this strong draft, but the beachgoers up and down the coast were protected by a sturdy line of Australian Pines. These were just a few of the factors that I had not stopped to consider when I chose my spot on the beach.
Isn’t that the way life feels at times? I may wonder why I seem to be the only one with deadlines at work that feel impossible to meet. No one else appears to struggle in relationships the way I do. Everyone else is making it financially while I struggle month after month. Or, I may face a frightening diagnosis from a doctor while others casually go about their daily activities. We observe the lives of others, draw conclusions about what we observe, and then wonder why we are the only ones having a rough time! But we cannot possibly know the many factors that play into the outcome of another person’s life nor do we have insight into their very personal burdens. I believe we are better off focusing on our own circumstances and doing all within our control to live according to the principles outlined in the Word of God. No matter how successful we are at accomplishing this goal, our stability in this life is still found in God alone! He is there for us when we are stressed, hurting, or frightened and when we have failed in our obedience to Him. His love never fails but it is up to us to turn to Him to accept it and receive the joy and peace that only He can provide. So if the winds of life seem to have you running after stuff, then perhaps it’s time to pause, put your conclusions aside, and seek answers from the only One who has the answers.