Pummeled by the Waves
By Jennifer Slattery
Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to keep your head above water? Like you’re lost at sea, surrounded by fog and never-ending waves? Perhaps you’ve become so exhausted, you’ve begun to wonder if you’ll remain lost at sea forever.
Often, when I face a rough period, I'm reminded of my first open water swim. The water was cold and somehow the 500 meters across the lake seemed double to the twenty-lap equivalent in the pool. There weren’t any clearly marked lines painted along the bottom. Only a blur of feet pelting me in the head and face and the occasional buoy shrouded in fog.
As wave after wave swept over me, filling my nose and mouth with murky lake water, it felt like I was fighting a loosing battle. For every exhausting stroke forward, the current seemed to take me two strokes back. The harder the current pulled, the harder I kicked. Before long, my tense muscles killed my buoyancy. My legs sank, throwing my entire body off alignment. For about two minutes. Then, muscle memory kicked in, and my body relaxed, allowing me to follow the gentle ebb and flow of the current.
The result? The minute I quit fighting and striving and pounding the water, I started to relax. And a relaxed body floats much better than a tense one. Before long, I fell into a nice, smooth rhythm that carried me to shore.
I think the same holds true for our spiritual life as well. We’ll hear God’s call. Maybe it’s too start a new Sunday school class or join a ministry, or maybe it’s to go back to school after ten, twenty, or thirty years out. And all we can see are the crashing waves, threatening to hold us back.
We begin to sink under a torrent of to-do lists and expectations, forgetting that the God who told us to jump in is ready and able to carry us to the shore. The waves don’t surprise Him; the fog doesn’t daunt Him. He knows which way the wind is blowing, which way the waves will crash, and which currents will carry us the farthest. In fact, He’s got our entire journey mapped out and has assumed full responsibility to get us there.
“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” Zechariah 4:6 (ESV).
It is our choice, then, how we will respond. We can relax, surrendering to God in whatever direction He carries us, knowing that He will not let us drown. Or we can pummel against the waves, beating ourselves into a frenzy of exhaustion as we fight against the current.
Are you tired today? Feeling discouraged? Pause to meditate on the words of your Savior:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV).
Jesus knows exactly what you are facing and how hard it is. He’s got a plan and the power to carry out. Trust in Him, and wait for Him. He won’t abandon you nor close His ears to your pleas.
Copyright © 2010. Jennifer Slattery. Used by permission.
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Jennifer Slattery lives in the Midwest with her husband and their daughter and writes for Christ to the World Ministries, Internet Café Devotions, the Christian Pulse, and Jewels of Encouragement; and maintains a Devotion blog at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com. Send Jennifer your comments.
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