Opposing Forces

“. . . drove the sea back . . .”
 

“Moses held out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind. It blew all night and turned the sea into dry land. The water was divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides.” (Exodus 14:21-22)
Last week while we were visiting Maine we hiked along the coastline and watched as the waves rumbled toward the beach with tremendous force.  I’ve seen situations where strong winds partnered with the waves to increase the magnitude of each wave’s size and impact on the land.  However, this day was very different.  The towering roll of each wave was being met by the opposing force of a very strong wind.  The result was that the tops of the waves were being blown off and whipped into a spray that served to transform the reflecting sunlight into a rainbow.  The colors of the water matched the colors of the trees on the land.  Wow!  Only the wind and waves working in opposition could create the beauty of the moment.  Neither could do it alone.  I couldn’t help but think of the story from Exodus when the opposing wind on the water helped create something pretty amazing for the Israelites – safe passage.
There are times in life when it feels like our best efforts are met with opposing forces.  I’ve walked into meetings thinking, “This is a no-brainer.  Folks will really go for this and we can move forward with a great idea.”  Sometimes I’ve been surprised by opposing forces in those meetings that have served to redirect, reexamine, sharpen, focus, or even squash some of my ideas.  Overall I’d say that I’ve learned that healthy opposition in relationships of various sorts can be helpful and even creatively constructive.  Opposing forces can work together to be the source of hope, or the source of despair, apparently all depending on the attitudes of those in the opposing camps.  This obviously applies to personal relationships as well as more corporate situations.
It seems to me the key for both sides of the opposing forces is to keep an eye on the goal.  Once the opposition has begun it’s easy for us to become distracted by personal feelings like pride, fear, greed, self-interest, shame, etc.  At the same time those feelings are winning, the view of the other person or group in opposition becomes more and more negative.  The other is seen as less human and treated with less and less respect – and more and more contempt.  As soon as all that happens, opposing forces move toward hurt, destruction, and despair instead of creative construction and hope.  
Opposition is not necessarily a bad thing.  I believe God can use opposing forces for creative construction and hope.  I’ve also seen my share of destruction and pain from situations involving opposing sides.  I pray that when I find myself in situations where I’m up against an opposing force, God will lead me toward a path of creative construction.  How about you?
Blessings and Peace
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.
My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on October 30, 2013.

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