This spring, I got wrecked by a wave.
At Melbourne Beach with my mom and nephew, I was wading near the shore, worried about cold, salty splashes (standard for the Atlantic in April).
Meanwhile, my 6-year-old nephew convinced my mom and me to hold his hands and hoist him over the waves. With each wave scaled, he erupted in shrieks and giggles — sheer delight.
During one of his assisted hops, an unwieldy wave came out of nowhere. We all went down like dominoes. I was submerged and smothered in sand before I could blink.
After the rush of adrenaline and a moment of panic, I found myself refreshed and soaked in saltwater, laughing louder than, well, maybe ever.
Now, would I choose to get blindsided by a big wave? Not so much. That’s why I wanted to stay near the shore. But the result was worth it! (at least after realizing we weren’t going to die)
Several months later, this memory continues to replay and make me smile. So I’ve been thinking…
Life just has a way of knocking us over, doesn’t it? Often when we least expect it. When the tidal wave of a trial or challenge comes, my tendency is to run the other way or try to make it go away — ASAP.
These waves can take on many forms: a bad job, broken heart, health issue. When they hit, it’s easy to feel bulldozed. Get angry. Struggle against it. Try to fix it in my finite, human strength.
Adverse circumstances serve as a salty reminder that I’m not actually in charge, that what I want may not be what I need … at least right now.
I try to avoid or control, but there’s another option.
When I let go and lie there long enough, I can look up and call on the infinite God who is mighty to save. And he changes everything.
It’s when I’m soaked in struggles that God grows me the most. It’s when my system is shocked and my faith is tested that I get to experience the God who meets my needs and exceeds my expectations.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.James 1:2-4 MSG
It’s this instruction that gets my attention: Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.
Honestly, I want out of any situation that smells like suffering or hints at hardship. A few of these things for me, lately? Infertility. Surgery. Studying.
These things don’t seem like gifts. Yet as I’ve stayed put and sought Jesus in my pain, I’m learning to accept his help, ask for his healing, and trust his timing.
In my deficiency, I can rely on God’s all-sufficiency. He’s always working.
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.Romans 8:28 MSG
And while he’s working for my good, I know it’s better for me to abide, allowing him to transform my lack and make me complete.
So tell me: What’s that situation you wish would end?
Don’t swim back to shore too soon. Stay awhile; soak in the saltwater. Allow your struggles to form your faith and character. Laugh a little, right where you are.
Seek the One who will give you strength to endure, patience to wait well. Perhaps he wants to change your perspective before resolving your problem.
It will be worth it. Promise.
Something New For You
I’ve been reading the book of James, and it’s SO GOOD. In fact, James 1:2-4 is the basis for this blog post.
I recently filmed three video devotionals on James chapter 2 for my church’s Facebook group … and then I got to thinking, why not share them with everyone?
So consider this your personal invitation to study James 2 with me! Simply enter your info below to get started.