Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10 (ESV)
“Don’t get in on that side of the bay,” Jimmy warned us. A week prior a fourteen foot tiger shark had just attacked and killed a man about 20 yards offshore in that area. Despite Jimmy showing up daily to warn everyone not to enter the bay near the mouth of the creek, my husband and I repeatedly witnessed people, even families with small children, who did not heed his advice.
One day after heavy rains, we looked down at this bay from a nearby cliff. More than half the bay on the creekside had turned a murky brown. We wondered what Jimmy would say now. After hiking through the beautiful forest to reach this magnificent protected bay, renowned for its snorkeling and surfing, we saw Jimmy sitting in his usual spot on a picnic bench near the shoreline. This time Jimmy warned us not to get into the water anywhere in this bay and to stay out of it for at least three to four days.
He explained why. He stated that the rainwater runoff from the nearby mountains and farming land dumps nutrients and other matter into the ocean often attracting the tiger sharks. Because of the murkiness of the water, we would not be able to see them nor would they would be able to see us. The shark’s upper body electrical sensors, however, would still allow them to hunt for food. If we didn’t want to be mistaken for a fish or a turtle, he warned us to stay out of the water until it cleared up.
Desiring to snorkel this fantastic bay one more time before our December 2020 vacation ended, we arrived early in the morning on the fourth day, just as Jimmy had suggested. As we came through the forest and drew closer to the bay’s entry point, we saw Jimmy carrying a large sign, which read “Warning – Shark Sighted Keep Out”!
Fifteen minutes before our arrival, another couple had come to snorkel in this bay. After the husband got into the water, the wife sighted a tiger shark and yelled for him to get out. After Jimmy heard the yelling, he quickly came to see what was happening. Not one, but two tiger sharks were sighted. Fortunately, the man exited the water just in time.
God often warns us of impending danger, but do we heed His warnings? Do we follow His instructions that will guide us on a safe path?
God often warns us of impending danger, but do we heed His warnings? Do we follow His instructions that will guide us on a safe path? Throughout the Bible, God makes His will known to us. In Psalm 32:8 He says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” But, in the very next verse He warns us, “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding…”
Why did so many people not heed Jimmy’s instructions? Because, I believe, most of the people lacked understanding of why Jimmy was telling them to get into the water on the right side of the bay or not to get in at all. Also, I believe, some people’s predetermined will caused them to close their eyes, ears, and hearts to anything contrary to what they wanted to hear, wanted to believe, or wanted to do. Jimmy wasn’t there to enforce his years of wisdom and knowledge about the bay and the habits of the sharks in that area on others, but rather he quietly imparted it to those who wanted understanding and to those who took the time to converse with him.
In some ways Jimmy reminded me of the Helper, the Holy Spirit Whom our heavenly Father has sent to guide us in the way that leads to life, the way that leads us “on level ground.” (Jn. 14:6; Ps. 143:10) But, in order to walk according to His leadership for any area of our life – our health (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical); relationships (family, work, ministry); finances (income, savings, investments, tithes); circumstances (personal, social, racial, political) and so much more – we need to take time to hear and to understand His Words of wisdom and knowledge, to talk with Him and to ask for His help.
When the waters in King David’s life turned murky – when his spirit was overwhelmed and he was feeling intense persecution by the enemy – he lifted up his soul to God and prayed, “cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning… cause me to know the way in which I should walk.” (Ps. 143:8) But, he didn’t stop there. He knew he needed God’s help, His supernatural empowerment, to actually do God’s will. Therefore, David continued to pray “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Ps. 143:10
Has God warned you to keep out of a certain bay, a certain area in life where “killer sharks” exist? Or, do you feel like King David did that you are in the midst of “shark infested waters” already? No matter if you are on the shoreline, debating whether you should go in for a swim, or already swimming in the murky waters, I encourage you to pray according to Psalm 143:8-10.
Prayer from Psalm 143:8-10
Heavenly Father, You are my God. In this situation ___________(name your situation) I am asking that You cause me to hear Your voice and cause me to know the way in which I should walk. Help me not to be stubborn like a mule, persisting in going “my way” rather than “Your way,” for my way leads to death and Your way leads to life. Teach me to do Your will. Thank-You for Your help and for Your leadership, especially in this area ____________ of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.