I stand with my feet in the ocean, the sun shining down on my bare shoulders from above. The perfectly white sandy beach is in front of me. Mostly everyone I know is on this beach. They are sun bathing, throwing frisbies, drinking wine & laughing, chasing kids and splashing in the water next to me. I wipe the water that splashed on my face and smile at the little girl next to me. She grabs my hand and points out into the deeper part of the water. I look. I notice a friend is getting deeper and deeper into the water and before long the water is up to her neck. I sit the girl down on the shoreline and walk out to where my friend is standing. I stand with her there in the deep water. She is crying, I cry. I hold her so her head doesn’t go under the water, but I struggle to keep her above the water. Suddenly, a man appears and keeps her head above the water line so she can breathe. She breaths, we hug her there. We stay in the deep water a little while and slowly we bring her in to the shallow end. As we reach the sandy beach, I see that another friend is caught in the waves. Crashing over him, he is unable to catch his breath. Many friends go to help but once again they are not strong enough to get him out of the repetitive cycle. Once again, the same man walks over to us. He reaches out his hand. My friend’s hand lifts just high enough above the water to grab his hand and he frees him from the waves. I look around and wonder what happened to our beautiful day on the beach, so many of my friends are struggling. I am so grateful for the man who showed up to help my friends. I glance up as the clouds begin to form over my head, circling and rolling with thunder. The sun is now hidden and the wind picks up. I sit down by myself on the beach, tiny waves touch my toes and they dig deeper into the sand. Rain begins to fall. Drop after drop until it is pouring. People run for cover but I am unable to move, my feet are stuck in the sand and the water is rising. It reaches my chest and the waves begin to come in stronger and stronger, crashing over my head and I can’t get myself free. As I take in what might be my last breath I cry out to God for help. An arm wraps around my waist and lifts me up just enough so that I am above the water. I turn my head and see the same man who had helped my friends. He gentle face looks at me with tears falling from his eyes, down his cheeks and as it reaches his mouth I see he smiles a little and then hugs me closer. Pretty soon friends, family and loved ones surround me as well and hold me there, keeping me a float. The storm has hit. Lighting and thunder surround us shaking us to the core, but we stay together. The storm may not end soon, but my head is above the waters deep.
So many times I walk through this life with a sense of entitlement. I believe that I should be free of troubles, heartache & loss. I deserve that, right?. I want my life to be a white beautiful sandy beach all the time. I get caught up in this perfect fantasy land and never want to leave. But I must leave…I get kicked out of that land and wonder what the heck just happened? This isn’t right! But, that land isn’t real and in the real world I will face hard times, a lot. There are a lot of storms on my beach, on all of our beaches. When the storms hit we are taught to suck it up and stay strong. People may say things like (including myself): “This too shall pass”, “Stay Strong”, “God only gives you want you can handle”, “Everything will work out”, or “It is for a reason.” NO! What if it doesn’t pass? What if I’m not strong enough to do this on my own? What if it is more than I can handle? What if I never see the reason? What if it doesn’t work out? We pray and hope for all those answers to play out but many times we never see the results of those answers. We see loss, hurt, pain or turmoil. There are cuts so deep that words cannot heal.
This life is hard. This life can suck. We may be at the beach one minute and the next we are surrounded by water so deep we can barely breath. We weren’t made to suck it up and be strong. We are made to lean and embrace our creator and He will make us strong & courageous. We can’t do this life on our own. We need a heavenly strength to carry us through. We need loved ones to walk with us. Stand with us in the pain, in the waters deep, until the it recedes back into the deep ocean. We need people to cry with us, hug us and on their knees with us. This life is hard, don’t suck it up. Reach out and get carried through the storm.
If this is you today and you are waters deep into a situation that seems unbearable, reach up and cry out to God. I promise, you will feel that arm reach around you, holding you up until that storm is over. He will give you that strength when you are powerless, hope when you are hopeless, and comfort when you are week and weary. If you see someone deep in the water, struggling, go out to them. Be there with them in the deep until the sun starts shining again.
Psalm 34:17-18 (esv)17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit
Psalm 91:4 (niv)He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Isaiah 43:2 (niv)When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.