When I am on a stand-up board, I prefer to paddle into the wind. I can see the current in triangles of water, anticipate the movement of the waves, maneuver to cross wakes at the best angle for keeping balance. Paddling with the wind, I am often caught unaware by its force from behind, breezing along at a nice clip but shaken by the irregular swells that sneak up and wobble me. It takes more power to advance into the wind, but is actually less difficult, with every stroke directed and purposeful. I am unsettled by what I cannot anticipate or see.
Charging ahead brings a certain rush, especially when we are following a confident, knowledgable leader, or have a clear map and destination. But do we always check on what follows us? Am I aware of the niggling doubts, the past failures, the weight of unknowns that can unsettle me from behind or drag me down?
“The LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” “Fear not, for I am with you. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” “The LORD is on my side as my helper.” Isaiah 52:12; 41:10; Psalm 139:5; 118:7
What comfort there is in knowing that my God not only leads me, but surrounds me, clearing the path as I forge ahead and fending off attack from around and behind. I have only one set of eyes, but His eye is on me and He sees all. He is “the shield round about me and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3)
Lord, You are above and below me, before and behind me. May I so live, and others see, that Christ be all around me.