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May 13, 2014

Discovering balance in life on the shores of Lake Apopka

by Dave Malnes

Our first trip to Orlando became a wildlife adventure.

Walking from our bed and breakfast at the historic Edgewater Hotel in Wintergardens, FL we ventured to the south shores of Lake Apopka on a beautiful sunny morning. We walked through an older neighborhood that had plants and trees akin to the tropical climate. And the wildlife!

From an osprey that landed on a post nearby clutching a wriggling fish to our first-ever sighting of alligators in the wild, the sights and the sounds of a tropical world kept us in awe.

IMG_0945IMG_0948IMG_0950 (800x600)Lake Apopka was once a thriving lake that invited tourists and boaters. Pollution, storms, and drought conditions have now made it a lonely lake. Old boat ramps built sixty years ago are now dormant. Algae dominate the shoreline. I am reminded that a delicate balance exists in nature. When this balance is disturbed, it can take many years to recover from an abusive past.

What about your nature? Has a disruptive past affected your balance? Is life causing you to long for the calm shores of a contented soul?

All of us suffer from the effects of a sinful nature. Coupled with living in a sinful world, lives go off-balance by difficult choices we make or actions carried out by others. Though difficult to overcome physical and emotional challenges from life’s circumstances, Jesus has a message that brings hope and healing.

He knows.

Not only has He experienced life on earth (rejected, betrayed, life exchanged for a terrorist), but also he knows our past and our present condition. Faith receives the words that can only heal a wounded soul.

He forgives.

Our sins are forgiven. Guilt is removed. Forgiveness is extended to others. In the context of forgiveness, the action verbs of hope that resonate through the Bible take on a different meaning. Do not fear. Remain in me. Finish the race. From an eternal perspective, hope fills our empty reservoirs with the pure freshness of His living water. With the promise of sins forgiven, cleansed through baptismal promises, balance amidst chaos reflects the fruit the Holy Spirit provides within us. Love, joy, peace….

Our bodies are like nature. They can easily go out of balance from a polluted world, a stormy life, or years of drought that causes thirst for the soul. “I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.” (Psalm 143:6)

And Jesus provides. “Whoever believes in me, as Scriptures has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38)

Sometimes life can feel out of balance. Walking in Florida, surrounded by nature, I am reminded how God provides. Trusting in his promises, the need for balance is replaced by a soul content in its status of total forgiveness.

Are there days when life seems out of balance for you? We would love to pray for you.

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