In case you have yet to realize this, life just sucks sometimes. In these times, there’s seemingly nothing we can do but to withstand the constant barrage of, what feels like, wave after wave of difficult to withstand life events. What do you do? Do you give up hope of the storm ever ceasing, deciding instead to just be swept away into the sea of hopelessness? Do you attempt to place your feet as firm as you can, fists at the ready, and fight the oncoming waves in your own strength, not realizing that the ground you’ve placed you feet in is sinking sand? Or, do you realize that this is just yet another one of life’s storms, albeit stronger than any in the past, that cause you to cling all the more to the Rock that has promised to never let you be swept away? What do you do when the storms come? Because they will come. Whether we’re prepared for them or not.
The last few weeks have been like this to me. A bunch of little waves, combined with a few bigger waves, and ended with one giant wave that just seemed to overwhelm all of my defenses and strengths. “Life just sucks sometimes” had become my phrase for this season (yes, I know “sucks” isn’t the best word to use, but honestly it’s how I felt). As I’ve mentioned in the past, a lot of my battles are fought in the mind, and there have been several that were just building up without being taken care of. Then within the period of a couple weeks, several of my very good friends moved away, and while I know I will see them again it’s still hard to know that this season of life has changed. Finally, in the midst of everything else, a very dear friend of mine who had been battling cancer for a year was ultimately Healed and taken Home to be in the presence of Jesus in Heaven. All this just combined into one giant wave that took away all my strength, and I felt like I had come to the end of myself. All I could do was to cling as tightly as I could to my Rock. Praying that with His strength I could withstand this storm, because I had no more strength.
I wish this has always been my recourse, but it hasn’t. I can think of countless times that I have tried to face a storm in my own strength, or just plain gave up and got swept away in a sea of hopelessness. But I praise God that this time, I clung to Him and He gave me the strength to hold on even tighter.
What about you?
I know this post has been full of metaphors, but enough of that. When life seems to just be too hard, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, what do you do? Realizing it’s too difficult and just being filled with hopelessness is not the only option. Or, trying to keep going/fighting the difficulty head on in your own strength will leave you beat down, and eventually overwhelmed with discouragement. There is a far better option. God has promised us that if we turn our face to Him, seeking refuge in Him through Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross, he will be our Rock that we can cling to and He will not let the waves of this world overcome us. With David we can cry: “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:1-3). But, without Christ as our firm foundation (meaning, we have destroyed anything else we put our trust in, turning away from ourselves and placing all of our trust in Christ), we will be tossed by every little wave that comes our way, without any future Hope that one day the storms will be no more.
So, to Christ I clung. I clung to Him when the battles of my mind left me utterly discouraged of being any use to him. Yet, he faithfully reminded me, through a song, the purposes of such trials:
“These inward trials I employ, From self and pride to set thee free; And break thy schemes of earthly joy, That thou mayst seek thy all in me.” ~I Asked the Lord (full lyrics here)
I clung to Him as one season of life passed away, making way for the next one to come; But praise God that He is a constant factor in my life that will never change:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:8
I clung to Him as my dear friend died, grieving that she is no longer here on earth, but at the same time rejoicing that she is no longer in pain, but is in the presence of God Most High! Knowing that though she died, she had given her life to following Christ, therefore death did not have the victory!
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Praise be to God that as followers of Christ we do not have to weather the storms of life on our own. In our weakness we may pray for the storms not to come, but in His infinite wisdom God knows that it is through the trials that we grow the most because we have to lean wholly on Him, trusting in His strength. To God alone be all glory.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” ~James 1:2-4