Focus: Riding the waves
Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it…”
Times of heavy testing are often referred to as a ‘wilderness’ or ‘desert’ experiences. In the Bible, rain is usually symbolic of blessing. However, there are times when rain can come in the form of a storm…too much of a good thing. Then rain becomes a trial. As a person who lost a coastal home from flooding due to a storm surge and wind driven rain…I understand the destructive side of rain pretty well. It’s the same way with the sun. Some sun is wonderful—too much sun can be destructive, too. And let’s not forget the wind…two sides there, also.
What we always hope for is perfect balance. Showers of blessing, but not a torrential downpour. Some sun…but not too much. A bit of a breeze, but no hurricanes, tornadoes, or tropical storms—but you and I both know the weather isn’t always our idea of perfect. We also know by now that trials and wilderness or desert experiences aren’t much fun either, but they’re how we learn and grow. Tough as it is to have to learn the hard way, neither you nor I want to be stuck in a rut going nowhere.
When things are the same all the time—life gets boring. To become good at something, we need practice.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw my husband water ski. It wasn’t long after we first started seeing each other. Jeff was a shy guy back then. His parents had a cottage on a lake and a boat. We went up there for a visit and some swimming. Jeff wanted to ski, so I rode with his dad in the boat. Jeff was out in the water with his skis, holding the rope. When they were both ready, his dad took off and so did Jeff. He shot up out of the water and it seemed to me like he was dancing. I was dumbstruck. He had so much grace and confidence. It was clear he had skied on that lake a lot of times and he understood how his dad drove the boat.
Now, I’m sure Jeff didn’t look like that that the first time he got up on water skis. I’m sure he did his share of falling down and maybe even getting mad at his dad—thinking maybe the reason he fell was his dad’s fault and not his. Truthfully, his dad was a bit ‘quirky’ in his style of driving the boat—at least he was when I rode with him. Let’s say he liked being a little daring. But, after Jeff got good at waterskiing, I’m sure he learned to enjoy the surprises his dad could dish out.
I hope I never forget the memory of that day. Seeing Jeff dance over the waves—swerving and smiling in complete control—showed me a side of him I hadn’t seen before. It was a sight to behold and seemed like a vision.
In recovery, learning to survive is one thing…but getting good at riding the waves, is another. Maybe it’s hard to imagine ever becoming so comfortable with challenges that you could handle them with ease—even dance on them. Maybe harder still to think of yourself ever being an example of hope to others, but that’s what could happen in your life—if you don’t give up.
Trials are sent to ‘form us’ into the likeness of Jesus Christ. He endured testing and was faithful. Part of His purpose on earth was to show us by example how to win over our circumstances.
What kind of rain are you facing today? Is it a light shower, or a monsoon? Do you feel like the water is rising, the wind is blowing, and you don’t know how to swim? Maybe your head is barely above the surface and your arms and legs are almost too tired to keep treading water.
In all of this, you can’t see it—but you are getting stronger. You don’t feel it because the tests keep getting harder, but you are growing all the same. Look back to another time when you had a test you thought you couldn’t get through. If you had to go through that one again, you wouldn’t have as much trouble with it this time because of the experience you gained.
If we think of trials like rain, we can appreciate the need for them. Rain comes to water the earth so seeds will grow and produce food that will feed us and sustain our lives. Trials will produce a depth of character and strength that will ‘feed you’ in the future, too. Just like God’s Word never returns to Him ‘void’…this time of trial will not be wasted.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book at the end of 2012, by the grace of God.
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