The boys made an excited dash towards the ocean with their brand new yellow inflated boat. They were determined to ride in it, despite the unusually gusty winds. I watched from my beach chair, as the raft flapped wildly in the air, at one point actually lifting these two skinny young boys right off the ground.
My son and his friend tried to ride in the boat for quite a while, but the strong winds made the water more like mini-tidal waves than the usual gentle tide. The few times the boys made it into the boat, the rolling surf spit them out like limp seaweed.
After being sucked under the rough waters multiple times, they finally admitted defeat. The waves had taken a toll on their spirits and the raft, rendering both boat and boys deflated and helpless.
Watching their frustration and defenselessness against the whitecaps, I was reminded of a season when I felt powerless to master one wave of adversity after another crashing against me.
It wasn’t just one thing that was causing stress and worry, but a toxic mixture of problems. The economy was going downhill and severely affecting our family. My mother lost her job. My sister’s chronic illness had gotten worse. Cancer tormented a loved one. One of my children faced a serious health issue, coupled with the normal daily challenges of raising three children. The washing machine broke, the transmission in my car died, and a hailstorm seriously damaged our roof.
Each day it seemed a new swell of problems engulfed me, adding to the accumulation of my concerns and stress. It was a long season in which I felt sucked under by a raging current, barely able to hold my head above water. I felt completely deflated and helpless, just like that little yellow raft.
During that time, I clung to Psalm 46:1-3,“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” (NLT)
These verses offered wisdom and comfort, helped me find the inner strength to persevere through difficult times. They served as a reminder to help me stay aware of my need for God, because none of us are equipped to handle life on our own. You see, no matter how strong we think we are, there will come a time when our stress seems overwhelming and we desperately wish we had somewhere to hide. Somewhere to take refuge from the storms, with Someone who understands what we are going through. And maybe you’ve feel like that recently and can totally relate to a desire for refuge and escape.
I understood the frustration of two little boys who wanted to ride in a big yellow raft, and I encouraged them to keep trying. After they had rested and the wind had lessened, they tried again, and finally found themselves floating in the boat, instead of hanging from it.
God understands what we are going through, and although He calls us to persevere, He wants us to depend on Him to keep our heads above water. Through these verses above, we are reassured of His promise to help us in times of trouble. These verses offer fresh encouragement that when adversity strikes, God will provide the refuge and strength we need to weather the storm.
No matter the problems tossing you about today, you don’t have to feel like you are simply hanging on. Instead, hold onto God’s promise that He is the Master of all stormy waves, and that when we put our trust in Him, we will discover the peace and strength we need to make it to calmer shores.
Dear Lord, I feel beaten down by storms of life, drowning in a sea of adversity and stress. I commit today to depend on You as my refuge. I place my hope and trust in You and commit to hanging on to You at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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THIS WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT IS CHAPTERS THREE AND FOUR