The rule always was, “Don’t go out in water above your waist”, and it was a good rule. Having four kids, Mom knew she couldn’t keep track of all of us every second we were at the beach. She understood all about the danger of rip tides, and the rule was her way of keeping us safe.
The only problem was that it was boring! The waves close to the shore were small and tame. We didn’t seem to be having nearly as much fun as those kids who went further out, laughing hysterically as the waves pounded them.
We were often tempted to disobey Mom’s rule, and sneak out into deeper water. But Mom was smart. There was a payoff if we obeyed her: before we left the beach that day, Dad would take us, one at a time, out into that deeper water.
I remember so clearly how it felt that first time, as Dad picked me up in his strong arms and carried me past where I could touch the sandy ocean floor to where the white and furious waves were breaking. It shocked me to learn that Mom was right! It would have been so scary out in those churning waves if I’d been by myself. But my Dad was so much bigger than me. His grip made me feel safe, because I knew that my Dad loved me, and would never let go. I trusted him, so I could laugh in the face of what could have been frightening, and enjoy the adventure instead. I hated it when my turn was up, and Dad would take me back to the shore. I treasured those times with him as we battled the waves together.
I loved my Dad, partly because He seemed so strong, but he certainly wasn’t’ perfect. God is my perfect Father. They do have this in common: sometimes, like my Dad, God picks me up and takes me into the deep water. There the big waves of life’s challenges crest hard and fast. It’s no accident to find myself there. It’s where God has deliberately placed me to test my trust, to deepen my faith, and to teach me to hold on to Him in the midst.
The waves can be big, and may feel like they’re going to drown me. I’m in way over my head, and if I forget that my Father is with me it’s overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be.
My Father is way bigger than my Dad; He’s smarter, stronger, and loves me far more and far better. Even in life’s big waves He never lets go of me, and always holds me safely in His arms. When I focus on Him, I actually experience His strength, His love, and His presence.
I am safe, because I know that He will never lose His grip on me.
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in time 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 water surge. Psalm 46:1-3
The eternal God is your refuge and His everlasting arms are under you. Deuteronomy 33:27
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
- Has there ever been a time that you have been overwhelmed by circumstances in your life?
- Describe your emotions.
- What did you hold on to during those times?
- What would holding on to the Lord be like in comparison?