When I was eleven years old, I got caught in a riptide off the beach in San Diego. Mind you, I was a Navy brat and had spent my childhood in and near the ocean. I’d swam in the surf of Hawaii by the time I was five.
What you have to understand about a rip tide is this: you don’t really know you’re caught. You just keep happily splashing and playing, maintaining a sense of denial that the shore is getting farther away. It wasn’t until a lifeguard showed up (a cute one, apparently puberty was kicking in at eleven), that I realized I needed saving.
This is a great analogy for a young man or woman suddenly set upon the world with all his or her beliefs and values firmly in hand. One day, you’ll step outside the relative safety of the home you grew up in, where you were likely taught those beliefs and values. At the very least, no one would question you.
What the world will do is send a giant wave your way. The wave will consist of college professors, girlfriends, boyfriends, roommates, and a ocean full of other detractors. They will tell you that your beliefs are foolish, for children, nothing but myths. And if you dare to swim against the current of what they believe, then you are to be shunned as a flat-earther, someone clearly out of touch with reality.
And behind every wave, of course, is a riptide. Standing up to the wave isn’t necessarily difficult because you know it will over in a flash. The riptide of secular humanity, however, will continually pull at you. Daily you are hit with popular opinion, objections to your beliefs, and the down-the-nose stare of those pretending to pity you.
And then you’re far from shore. Paddling madly but quickly losing buoyancy. This is what the world does. How it operates. Overwhelm you, day by day, with what they perceive as truth. Paul advised us to be in the world, but not “of” the world. Easier said than done. And he knew it. What you must understand is this: anyone committed to doing the right thing will have more enemies than friends. Jesus never won a popularity contest and still wouldn’t today.
Your challenge, my friends, is stand against not just the wave, but the ever-flowing riptide. Understand that you cannot change the direction of the flow nor stem it. You can only hope to stay in sight of the shore and encourage the few who will stand with you. And oh by the way, there is a Rescuer should you ever find yourself in over your head.
And He has a 100% record of not allowing anyone to sink.