by Christina Fox
I sit at the beach watching the boys and their friends play in the sand. The rhythmic sound of the waves crashing on the shore is soothing to my weary heart. It’s ironic how relaxing the roar of the waves is on this side of the water. Yet I know if I were to step into the waves, they would pick me up and toss me to and fro. I’d be knocked over and pushed right back up on the beach, leaving scratches and burns on my skin from the sand, rocks, and seashells.
That’s how life feels lately. The waves of life have tossed me around leaving me bruised and worn. Discouragement seems the theme of my life this year. It weight is heavy and its pull is strong as it threatens to pull me out into a riptide of sorrow and despair.
To Kiss the Waves
I recently shared these feelings with a friend and she reminded me of this quote from C.H. Spurgeon “I have learned to kiss the waves that push me against the rock of my Redeemer.” To be honest, my heart feels too sore to want to step into the rocking waves and greet them with a grateful kiss. I’d rather seek solace and find comfort than be battered and bruised.
But this quote reminds me that healing for my wounds and the peace I seek in my trials are found not in fleeing from the waves but from where the waves can take me. The disappointments and discouragements of life ought to push me to Christ. These pains ought to remind me of my need for the Redeemer who was bruised and broken for me (Isaiah 53:4-5). And they ought to remind me that Christ is the source of my encouragement, peace, and hope–not my circumstances.
Yet the sorrows and trials of life are usually things I try to avoid. I resist them. I seek a solution to them. I just want them to go away. I want the water to be flat and calm; smooth and easy to navigate. But Christ calls me to step out into the waves and walk by faith. Like Peter walking on the water, Christ calls me to keep my eyes fixed on him, not on what is going on around me. I need to trust that it is he who will keep me afloat, not my own strength and abilities.
And sometimes, I really need those rough waters and high waves. James tells me to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Paul says something similar in Romans 5, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (v.3-5).
And so, as Spurgeon’s quote reminds me, instead of complaining, despairing, or wallowing in my discouragements, I need to receive them with joy. They are gifts given to bring me back to where I belong. Just as Paul’s thorn in the flesh forced him to rely on the strength of Christ, my own pains and sorrows are graces that point me to Christ. He is my rock whom I can lean on when the waves of trial crash around me. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:12). He is also my redeemer, not only for my eternal salvation, but every day his grace saves me from my sinful desires and selfish ways. Though it hurts, the waves of trial and discouragement that push and pull at me and the bruises and scrapes I endure are all necessary and for my good.
Life is filled with sorrows and disappointments, that is certain. We can’t escape it, though many try. Nor can we can’t allow ourselves to drown in despair. Instead, when those waves of discouragement and pain come upon us, we need to yield to and kiss them in gratitude for they push us right where we need to be–against our Rock and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two sons. Christina blogs at To Show Them Jesus.