SURE TO BE WAVES
Ever stood about waist deep in the ocean on the beach on a busy surf day and the waves just seem relentless? I certainly have experienced this unyielding, wave-after-wave, pounding of water. I have also felt the unrelenting waves of the challenges in life.
Here is a recent glimpse into my life and the waves that have pounded me.
- Family sickness
- Degrading health of a dear Uncle
- Me, Kidney Stone
- Wife, Physical issues
- Wife, car accident
- Gum in dryer
- Ice maker dead
- Laptop is dead
- Water break in my yard near street
- Pastor Change in my church
However, the Scripture says these waves are producing in me now - perseverance and character which leads to hope. The actual passage in Romans 5:3-4 reads - "but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Then Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth stated and I paraphrase - The trials and tribulations we face are working for us. They are not only developing us now, but setting aside and polishing up a glory that does not compare to all of our issues combined. The actual 2 Corinthians 4:17 verse reads - "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
Earlier in this same chapter, Paul speaks about the waves of life and the authority we have over them through Christ Jesus. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
I like how Paul starts out with the dessert first instead of the appetizer. He says we contain a "treasure" within our bodies that displays the kind of authority and power we have daily at our disposal for any issue - God's "all-surpassing power" via His Holy Spirit. Paul then names some waves but immediately afterward declares our victory through the Holy Spirit.
The first wave is that "we are hard pressed on every side". Ever felt like you were in the Pressure Cooker of life? Ever felt like the anaconda of life was squeezing the joy right out of living and on every side? Paul encourages us, "we are not crushed".
The second wave is "perplexed". Ever been confused about the situation you were going through? Ever wonder where it was coming from - a test, an attack or just stupidity on our part? Paul reassures us we will feel this but it will not lead to "despair".
The third wave is persecution. Ever had the finger pointed at you? Whether you were or were not the culprit, God says He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Here in this verse Paul says we are "not abandoned".
The last wave that Paul mentions is being "struck down". Ever experienced bankruptcy or a close, intimate death in the family? Things of this nature can take the wind out of your sails or make you feel struck down. Paul then gives us the picture we might be down but we are not out in the fight of life. So, with God's help and others we stand back up, dust ourselves off and move forward.
Paul is an excellent person to be speaking on this subject of the waves of life. He was ship wrecked a number of times, imprisoned, whipped, stoned, etc... In Paul's second letter to Timothy, Paul encourages Timothy by explaining and justifying his suffering - "And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day." (2 Timothy 1:11-12)
The three key words that jump off the page for me in this encouragement/explanation/justification are - "know", "convinced" and "entrusted". Paul had a personal encounter with Christ therefore knew Him. Afterward, he was convinced of Christ's power in his life by the many miracles and salvations that the Lord worked through him. This convincing was more than enough to entrust his life to Christ Jesus then and for eternity.
In the same manner, Christians should know their Savior on an intimate, daily basis by speaking with Him and reading His Word. Believers should be convinced of His power and presence in their lives just from all the many blessings coming their way. And followers of Christ should trust God in everything and entrust God with your whole body, soul, mind and strength as we are promised by Christ there are Sure To Be Waves.