Uluwatu (2 Corinthians 11:24-25)

Uluwatu.

 

Mention this word to any surfer and their eyes will undoubtedly light up. Located in Bali, it is one of the top surf destinations in the world…and I have been to Uluwatu! No, not the surfing spot, but a drainage canal in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

Until I was 10 years old, I was an avid skateboarder. My friends and I spent many hours in a drainage canal across the street from my home, but often wistfully spoke of another drainage canal, located about an hour away in a suburb of Honolulu. Local skaters affectionately dubbed it Uluwatu, after the fabled surfing spot. We all knew we had to skate it and one summer day, it finally happened! It was over an hour bus ride and then another 45 minute trek through several neighborhoods but we were determined to find it. With 10 of my friends, we made the journey and about 2 hours later, skateboards in hand, beheld the drainage canal. It was huge, easily 10  times larger than my home canal. I was more frightened than excited but knew I had to skate or else lose face in front of my friends. My heart pounding, I descended the steep cement walls of the drainage canal, accelerating at a pace far greater than I had ever previously skated. In a few seconds, I was at the bottom. Success! I should have stopped there but seeking to show off to my friends, I proceeded down the canal to an area where the walls were steeper. Confidently I ascended the walls and arcing at the top, entered a steep descent. Milliseconds before I reached the bottom of the wall, I saw it-it was a gaping crack between the wall and the floor of the canal, and I was headed straight for it. I had no time to jump off or swerve to miss it and my front wheels jammed and stuck in the crack hurling me forward. I landed on the back of my head and that is the last thing I remembered. I opened my eyes to see a crowd standing around me, some voices were murmuring, “What should we do?”

 

My head was throbbing and I was still on my back. I looked up and said, “Why you are all standing around me?”

 

“Brah!” one of the bystanders said. “You was knocked out!”

 

“What? Really?”

 

“Yeah brah…” another chimed in. “You was out for like a minute!”

 

Whoa! I wasn’t bleeding but I had a huge and growing swelling on the back of my head. I slowly got up but was definitely unsteady on my feet. I sat down, still dizzy and in a great deal of pain. I had a concussion and should have gone to the doctor but I was 10 years old, naive and more concerned about looking tough than being safe. “I’m okay.”  I confidently declared, but I wasn’t.

 

This physical trauma forever changed my outlook and killed my desire to ride a skateboard. A few days later, I attempted to ride my skateboard but I had lost my nerve, I was unable to skate with my former confidence. I joined many others who, after experiencing a significant trauma, may lose their confidence to continue with the same activity or action, fearful that it may lead to a similar painful outcome. Many others, but not the Apostle Paul!

 

Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea…

2 Corinthians 11:24-25 (ESV)

 

The Apostle Paul was the greatest missionary to ever spread the Gospel throughout the known world. His enthusiasm and passion were never dampened or hindered by the numerous physical sufferings he experienced. In fact, he rejoiced in these sufferings, knowing that when he was weak, then he was stronger for Jesus Christ because he became more dependent upon Him.

 

My ordeal weakened my resolve to continue. Paul’s many ordeals only strengthened his resolve to continue preaching the Good News. Praise God that he did!

 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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