Yesterday, students across the nation walked out of class to protest the school shooting that took place a month ago in Florida. Many have hailed this as the beginning of a new movement; others have decried it as a stunt. I’m not here to debate the merits of this particular action or even what it may or may not represent. What I do want to look at is how and why groups are using various methods to “make waves” in our world.
What does it mean to “make waves?” According to the online urbandictionary.com, it means: to cause a disturbance, or to create a situation where chaos or controversy will surface
The underlying assumption is that there is a deceptively calm surface that requires a disturbance– that chaos or controversy are already present, and bringing them to the surface is necessary to prevent more tragic results.
If you live near a large lake or the ocean, you may have watched waves in action. Waves can be powerful, and even tragic, in their own right. Storm surge waves and tidal waves have been known to decimate coastal areas; even normal wave action can erode shorelines and pull unwary swimmers under the surface. But waves also serve good purposes– they polish the stones and wash up treasures onto the beaches. They prevent stagnation. They help move small creatures that dwell in the sand and shallow waters.
One thing about waves that sometimes passes unnoticed– waves may change in size or power, but they are constant– rolling in and out unvaried in their rhythm from day to day and year to year. In this sense, no one “makes” waves, except the creator, who started that rhythm and set the boundaries for the lakes and seas. Instead, we attempt to create bigger, more powerful waves, or make waves where none were before– puddles, or swimming pools, perhaps. At some point in our lives, we WILL make waves– but what kind, and to what purpose?
My point is not that we shouldn’t try to be agents of needed change in our world– but we should examine the positive and negative consequences of our wave-making. Are we pushing something to the surface that needs to be seen or discovered? Are we pulling something under the surface to drown it out? Are we eroding a foundation, or carving out a new coastline? Also, are we being consistent in our wave-making? Are we hoping for a single tidal wave of chaos, or a constant churning action that brings lasting change.
Of course, since this blog is about prayer, I would suggest that prayers are also like waves– each one breaking in its turn, but constantly rolling, churning, and moving forward, bringing things, both large and small, to the shore. Prayers have a constant rhythm and a subtle roar that masks their full impact. Prayers, like rolling waters, intermingle, push each other forward, dance, and rise, and fall with the winds and storms of life, and roll back to rise up again.
Not all prayers are like waves– not all waves are like prayer. but shouldn’t we want to make waves in tune with God’s purposes? Waves answer to God– he can both calm them, and stir them into wild fury; walk on them, or hold them back.
I pray that our prayers and our actions would be consistent with God’s rhythm; that we would embrace changes and actions that bring him honor.