My son and his friend made an excited dash toward the ocean with their brand new inflated boat. They were determined to ride in it, despite the unusually gusty winds. I watched as the raft flapped wildly in the air, nearly lifting the boys off the ground.
The boys tried to get in the boat for quite a while, but the strong winds made the water more like tidal waves than a gentle tide. The few times they made it in the raft, 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 the boys and their boat deflated and helpless.
Watching their frustration and defenselessness against the whitecaps, I was reminded of a season when I felt powerless to master the waves of adversity that had come crashing against me, one after another.
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 kids. 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 was completely deflated and helpless, just like that little 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 offer wisdom about persevering through our difficult times. They serve as a reminder to stay aware of our need for God, and that 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 stress gets overwhelming and we desperately wish we had somewhere to hide. Somewhere to take refuge from the storms, with Someone who understands what we're going through.
I understood the frustration of two little boys who wanted to ride in their raft boat. After they rested and the wind lessened, I encouraged them to go back in the water. They tried again and finally found themselves floating in the boat, instead of hanging from it.
God understands what we're going through. His Word promises He will help us in times of trouble. When adversity strikes, God offers the refuge and strength we need to weather life's storms.
No matter the problems tossing us about today, we don't have to feel like we are simply hanging on. Instead, we can put our trust in the One who offers peace and strength to carry us through until we get 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.
Today's devotion is based on Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles which releases today!
Reflect and Respond: Have you felt tossed around by life, getting damaged in the process? Have you asked God to be your refuge, strength, and help?
Have you been trying to master the waves of adversity in my life, or have you been putting your hope and trust in God?
Power Verses: Psalm 107:29, "He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves." (NIV)
Psalm 9:9-10, "The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You." (NASB)
© 2012 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
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