“ I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NLT)
When I was younger my family pretty much lived at the beach.
My dad loved to surf, so while he was off riding the waves, my sister and I would have fun playing in the water.
One day while swimming, a strong current picked up and started pulling me out to sea.
Every frantic stroke I swam against it seemed to lead me further and further out into the endless deep.
Before long, I was far away from the safety of the shore and starting to swallow more and more water.
Gasping for air, I thought this was it for me.
But just when I thought I was going to die, something remarkable happened.
In a split second, everything changed.
A lifeguard came out of nowhere, pulled me out of the raging deep water, and saved my life.
God reminded me that even when I believe that it’s impossible…truly nothing is impossible for Him. (Matthew 19:26)
Are You Walking On the Water or Sinking Beneath It?
Looking back on the whole experience got me thinking about the Christian life.
The world you live in is like the ocean and the forces of darkness are like the ocean’s current.
The path you’re walking down leads to life everlasting in heaven.
But the opposition you’ll face along the way is trying to pull you away from God and His plans for you.
It’s trying to pull you back down into the mire clay God pulled you out of when you surrendered your life to Him.
It’s trying to pull you away from God’s truth into a sea of lies and deception.
And it’s ultimately trying to sink you beneath the waves God has called you to walk upon.
The truth is, in this life, you will have many trials and sorrows.
You will face opposition.
You will face adversity.
You will face persecution.
And you will have trouble in this world.
“Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served Him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.
“Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.
“I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.
“I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm…”
– 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
The Apostle Paul is a perfect example of this.
He was on fire for Jesus but suffered long and hard until he was ultimately martyred and put to death.
So you see, life here on earth isn’t going to be completely perfect 24-7.
But that doesn’t mean even time a trial comes you throw in the towel and quit.
You must finish the race God has called you by name to run.
Not in your strength, of course, but through His. (See Phil. 4:13)
That’s why Jesus says, (in my words of course)
“Yes, I know you’re going through a hard time right now. But I’ve got this! I want you to come to Me…give all of your cares and concerns to Me, and trust in Me with all of your heart.”
So when you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry.
Never lose hope no matter how hopeless it seems.
Similar to the lifeguard that saved my life when I was a child, Jesus is a lifeguard for you.
Your lifeguard who walks on water.
Be Strong & Courageous, Not Feeble & Afraid
By far one of my favorite characters in the Bible is Joshua.
You know the story, Joshua was next in line to lead the children of Israel into the promised land after Moses died.
Now, this wasn’t an easy task, to say the least.
I’m sure he felt unqualified and uncomfortable about his ability to lead this huge group of people successfully.
We know this because in Joshua chapter 1 alone the words, “be strong and courageous” are repeated to him by God four times!
Now you wouldn’t tell that to someone totally confident and sure of himself would you?
No, you would tell that to someone unsure and afraid.
Someone who was doubting their abilities and not courageous at all.
So God is assuring Joshua that he can do all things with His help.
He is reminding him that He’s not leading the children of Israel all alone.
He will go before him and give them victory.
He will make him successful by enabling him to accomplish the task at hand.
And ultimately He will cross them over into the promised land.
The same goes for you and whatever God has placed before you.
Can you honestly say you’re completely brave and courageous?
Or, are waves of doubt drowning out God’s promises to you?
If so, then the same message God spoke over Joshua’s life is speaking over your’s today.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Remember, God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. (1 Cor. 1:27)
He’s chosen the weak things of this world to put to shame the things which are mighty.
And, He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Are You Under the Shelter of His Wings?
“Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” – Psalm 63:7-8
There is an incredible story of a mother bird keeping her little chicks safe from a massive mountain fire.
When the rangers found these birds, they found the mother with her wings spread out.
She was sheltering her helpless little babies from the smoke by providing enough oxygen for them to breathe.
The mother bird gave her life for her baby chicks because, in the process of saving their lives, she unfortunately lost hers.
God spoke to my heart through this story because that is exactly what He has done and is doing for every single one of us.
God sent His Son Jesus to die in your place.
To bear your sins and pay a price you could never pay.
When you abide in Him, you too will be protected from the enemy.
You will find a safe hideaway.
You will find shelter from the wickedness in this world and the evil all around you.
And help for when the waves seem to keep crashing over you.
“For the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” – Deuteronomy 20:4
Even though you will experience seasons of difficulty.
And as a follower of Jesus Christ, your story has a very happy ending.
That’s because your life here on earth is only temporary!
One day you will reach your final destination in heaven where all of your tears will be wiped away forever. ( Rev. 21:4)
And even though God never promised you smooth sailing through life.
He did promise to never leave you all alone to fend for yourself. (Deut. 31:6)
He’s walking through this life with you every single step of the way.
So keep your head held high and rest securely in the loving arms of your Jesus.
He is your refuge and your strength.
He is your very present help in times of need. (Psalm 46:1)
And He will give you victory over the wiles of the enemy.
Cast all of your cares and concerns at the foot of His cross because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
He cares about your going out and your coming in.
He cares about the tears you cry and the pain deep within the depths of your heart.
He cares about your hopes, dreams, hearts desires, and the struggles you’re facing.
And He hasn’t forgotten about you.
Some days you may feel overburdened.
Some days you may feel drained.
But don’t give up.
Don’t ever believe the enemies’ lies that say no one cares about you and you’re all alone.
Because the truth is—you’re not!
The truth is, yes, in this world you will have tribulations.
But you are to take heart and be of good cheer because your Jesus has overcome the world!
So no matter what you’re going through, today is the day for you to rejoice in His presence.
Today is the day to rest in His perfect peace.
And today is the day to walk on the water.
“I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace…
You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way…”
– Amanda Cook “You Make Me Brave”