I don’t know about you, but 2018 has been a doozy of a year for me. I’ve had to re-examine everything I thought I “knew” about God and His ways. Not that I hadn’t already done that several times in the last few years, but this go-around left me gasping for breath.
I clung to the lifeboat of other’s prayers when I had no words to pray my own. I fought against waves of grief, bewilderment, doubt…pain. But as the Apostle Peter said to Jesus, “Where would I go? You alone have the words of life.”¹
So. Eventually, I washed up on the shore, “shipwrecked on God and stranded on His omnipotence.” ² A bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it? Who wants to be shipwrecked? And we certainly don’t like to be stranded. Being stranded is so inconvenient. So lonely. So…helpless-feeling. I don’t want to be stranded. It shatters my illusion of control. And I especially don’t love the idea of being stranded on what sometimes feels like the capriciousness of God’s omnipotent sovereignty.
Ah, but think about this. We can kick and scream against the unfairness of life all we want. But if we’re shipwrecked on Him, then we’re stranded on not merely His power and His sovereignty, but we’re stranded on His mercy. His compassion. His love.
And perhaps that’s right where He wants us to be. Clinging to Him for dear life. Crying out to Him, as St. Augustine did so long ago, “Oh! For thy mercies’ sake, tell me, O Lord my God, what Thou art unto me. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation; but say it so that I may hear Thee…say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.”
Say it so I can hear it above the waves, Jesus.
I alone am your salvation.
Say it so I can hear it again and again until I trust You more than what I see with my eyes.
I alone am your hope.
¹ John 6:68
² Havner, Vance. http://vancehavner.com/
So much of the time in this new age of Christianity the facade placed around us has become our reality. We try to make everyone see the perfect version of ourselves, and then tell each other how perfect we are. But in reality there has been nobody greatly used of God who has not gone through the wilderness experience. Whether Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, or any other individual in the OT or NT, there was a wilderness which they had to conquer. Somewhere along the way we have “taught” the saints against this action. Even Jesus himself went into the wilderness to face this same thing.
You know in the OT it was required of the priesthood to sacrifice a bull for themselves. While the people of the nation could offer many sacrifices, the priesthood had to sacrifice the animal which has more blood per pound of flesh than any animal on the planet. Why? Because it is not what you find yourself in which qualifies or disqualifies you. It is what you go through..and get up from, that qualifies you.
In fact, I would say if one never finds themselves in this wilderness, they can never truly find the fullness of God in their lives. But thanks to God’s grace, He did not allow you to stay there! Now it is time to find out why….
Amen! Thank you for your encouragement and insightful comments.