Ed, my neighbor next door, has hit the restless rapids of winter whitewater. He claims that since the middle of January he feels like he could drown in monotony. In spite of weekly curling, twice weekly bowling and daily coffee chats with the guys, he is restless and working toward winter crankiness. Ruby has suggested that they go to Arizona or take a Caribbean Cruise, but Ed says, “I’d rather be stir crazy at home than squandering my hard-earned money on a vacation or cruise where the ship may sink anyway.”
It has been such a good winter that I was surprised at Ed’s boredom. Ed claims that is part of the problem. When winter is its usual nasty self, a person is more content to stay home and keep warm. Really good winter weather makes a person edgy to be doing something. Ed wants to be out at his farm, but there is nothing to do there right now except listen to the wind whistle around the Quonset. Ed says that even Rex, his dog, is suffering from boredom these days.
It has been said that life is best lived by behaving like a duck on water. Ducks are calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddling like fury underneath. It is difficult not to get ruffled by boredom, with winter weather, daily routines and life in general. We always have a tendency to want what we don’t have at the moment. The truth is, we get upset when life deals us those hidden cards like sickness, accident, loss of job, a loved one’s death etc. It takes a lot of paddling in our minds and hearts to deal with our ordinary and shocking days of life.
Being calm and unruffled is described in the Bible this way: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Paddling like fury underneath is pictured in the Bible this way: “Forgetting what is behind I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” We keep paddling so as to stand (stay) firm in the Lord. Our paddling involves rejoicing in the Lord always, even when we are bored and life is monotonous. Our restlessness should not be evident to all, but our gentleness instead. We are unruffled, because the Lord Jesus Christ is near, who is our Savior from heaven. We need not be anxious about anything, as we keep paddling furiously in prayer with thanksgiving. We can be assured that God will give us peace and contentment to guard our hearts and minds in everything.
Paul spent years bringing the gospel to the gentiles. In doing so, he was in jail frequently, flogged thirty-nine lashes five times, exposed to death again and again, beaten with rods three times, and stoned. He was too involved in a life and death effort to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to be bored. His life was never monotonous or humdrum even in jail, because he was always actively living his faith. He was calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddling his faith furiously in his heart and mind in every situation of his life.