The sun is setting on the lake. There’s a boat making its last run before the sun is completely gone. As it passes by about a hundred yards out, the wake is huge. The boarder gets his big air and hits his landing. Run complete. As the boat fades away on the water you can faintly hear the motor getting softer and softer. But then, moments later, the wake comes up to the shore, crashing into the sand and carrying out some of the shells and rocks back out to the waters with it. The ripple effect. Although it wasn’t immediate, impact of the wake did eventually reach where we were sitting.
I had a conversation with a friend today. It was a hard conversation. He’s going through a divorce. His wife has some issues with drugs, depression and he found her cheating on him with a neighbor. Difficult stuff. He is a believer. His faith is definitely being tested and strengthened. I listened to him. His eyes welled up several times during the conversation. He was just a couple of years away from retirement. His house was paid off and she was leaving him; taking half of everything, though she hadn’t worked in a long time. She racked up debt and had abandoned him and the kids several years ago. All I could do was listen and let him know that I would be praying for him, that God’s presence would be very real to him.
In the course of that conversation, he made a very powerful statement. He said that even, in the midst of the struggle, his daughter had noticed a difference in him. She had commented that he was handling the situation better than she had thought. She had said that her own level of anxiety from the situation had tempered a bit. He was having a ripple effect on her. His choice to stay close to God was helping level out her anxiety. In his fighting to find God in his situation, he was bringing peace to those left at home. In our conversation, his faith and humility were affecting me as well.
Psalm 69:5, 6 says, “Oh God, You know how foolish I am, my sins cannot be hidden from You. Do not let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me.” (NLT) Our sin will often find us out. One way or another, the consequences of our sinful actions will have a negative effect upon those in our world around us. How blessed are we when we are obedient; when our faith holds strong and we see God in the midst of our horrible circumstances, and those around us stand in awe. We can seize that opportunity of praise and claim it for ourselves, or we can honor the One from whom we know our strength comes; our Abba Father.
Don’t be so self-absorbed to think that the blessings and consequences of your life choices only affect you. They will come crashing in hard on those that are very close, or they will lap up against those who are even at a distance. Either way, there is a ripple effect.