As much as I love the sea and watching turquoise, foamy waves break on a golden shore, the waves I have been watching this week are the figurative ones. Today is a day that I’m watching the waves.
It started out as a good week all things considered. Finally, for the first time since my daughter was born, I had felt like I was on top of the housework; I didn’t wake up each day with the sinking feeling that there was something that I had to do, otherwise I’d be playing catch up for the rest of the week. I was productive; I got a lot done. I started spring cleaning my study. The door had been closed on the mess since November last year! That truly brought healing to my mind! It was long overdue!
But then, the waves came. At first, it was just as if the wind had picked up a bit off shore. The tips of the waves no longer sparkled but they were edged with white foam.
Waking up on Wednesday morning, I felt flat. An issue had arisen earlier in the week that we had to wrestle through and we felt quite alone and confused. It was plaguing me and my conscience.
So was my blog post! This was not my original post or chosen topic. The first was easy to write and my daughter had a mammoth nap on Monday so I had two and a half hours to finish my reading, my prayer time and to start and finish a whole blog post! To get even one of those done during a nap is a feat in itself. So I was feeling really upbeat! The problem came in the editing! It was a sensitive and controversial topic. I do get someone who has a better command of the English language to read my posts so I don’t subject you to bad grammar and spelling so I asked a few people read it over, checking content more than grammar this time. In general, they were all a little uneasy. Somehow, I found it hard to revisit and try to change my writing. So I’ve shelved it for the moment and maybe one day, I’ll rework it. But I was really vexed that something I’d thought had been crossed off my originally short to-do-list had been added back on to a lengthening one.
Then I received some really sad news and, if everything wasn’t already bad enough, I suddenly took stock of our finances again and just got depressed. (Our decision for me not to work is a choice we have made, and though we don’t regret it, it’s not easy.) It’s hard to see how things could get better and not worse with Baby 2 on the way. And then I just got jealous. Nasty jealous. The jealous where you find yourself resenting people who have done nothing wrong.
And it was then that I felt like I had swum out too far. I kept surfacing and being smacked with a wave and swallowing sea water. Each time I came up to breathe, I swallowed more. It stung. Today, it’s storming. The waves are huge and I feel like I’m drowning. And the irony of it all, it’s sunny outside!
I chide myself for wallowing in my misery sometimes. There are many people who are worse off. I enjoy great blessing and privilege. But trials come in many forms. When things are hard – whatever the issues are we are facing – we all experience pain. We’re all in the waves together, with our heads the same height above sea level. We’re all swallowing the same salty water. And it’s no more fun for me than it is for you.
And in moments like these, it’s easy to focus on the waves which are threatening to drown you. You can’t seem to see over them; you can’t see anything except the next wave slapping you in the face.
But, I’m sure we’ve all seen some movie clip like this – waves wash over the camera lens and you feel as if you’re bobbing on the couch right along with the person on the screen and then, suddenly, you see it. A life saver, a boat, someone coming to save you, a rescuer. Just a glimpse. Just a split second. And then another wave hits. You swallow more water. But it was there. You saw it through bleary, burning eyes. And you feel a twinge of hope.
My mind has often wandered to a story I’ve heard many times before. A few men are out at sea during the night and the wind picks up. Not my idea of fun! Little boat, big waves, scary wind – no thanks! And then, to make things more fun, add a ghost to the mix. A ghost walking on water (yes, sounds stupid, but when your mind is trying to make sense of something, it runs through all the possibilities!) Soon, they realise that it’s not actually a ghost but it’s Jesus walking on the water towards them. One gutsy guy named Peter shouts out to him,
“Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
So Peter climbs, I would imagine as carefully as one can when you’re being buffeted by the wind, out of the boat. That first step onto the surface of the waves, realising that he wasn’t sinking must have been mind-blowing. He begins to walk towards Jesus but then it all becomes too much. He takes his eyes off Jesus and looks at the wind whipping the waves into a foamy frenzy and suddenly he starts to sink.
This is us. This is me. Life is sometimes too scary, too overwhelming, too ominous, too much and we look at the worries and troubles that loom over us and think that they will sink us. We take our eyes off the very person who is keeping us afloat. We think that if we take matters into our own hands, we can handle it better than He. And, soon, with our focus in the wrong place, we begin to realise that we can’t keep ourselves afloat. And at this point, in sheer desperation and fear, we cry out to God as Peter did,
“Lord, save me!”
Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter. He rescued Him. The minute Peter turned his attention back to the Lord, he was rescued. Jesus was right there. And note, the text doesn’t say that he had nearly reached the Lord. The text says that he was still in the process of walking towards the Lord. I could very well be reading into the text but my I believe point is still valid. Jesus may seem far away in times of trouble, but when we turn to Him, He is right there! Ready. Waiting. There to rescue us. Sometimes, all we need to do is ask.
Read more about Peter here.Tags: afloat, depressed, down, drowning, focus, God, hard times, Lord, low, sad, sea, trials, tribulations, troubles, waves