I’m pressed but not crushed
Persecuted, not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
And I am blessed beyond the curse
For His promise will endure
That His joy is going to be my strength
Though my sorrows may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning
By: Jana Greene
Have you ever been at the beach playing in the ocean all frolicky-like, splashing int he cool waters, and turned to face the shore when suddenly BAM! You get knocked down by a wave that came out of nowhere.
At first you’re just stunned. You sure hadn’t seen that coming! So you find the sand on all fours and attempt to stand back up and from behind, another wave – bigger than the last – WHOOSH! The wave knocks you face down into the water. Now your knees are scraped and your pride is bruised. In embarrassment, you look to the beach to see the reactions of your friends on the beach, who are perhaps laughing. Your determination mounts as you right yourself to stand and walk with some measure of grace, only to get slammed in the back by the biggest wave so far, which takes you down, under the water, and tumbles you face over rear several times.As you try to navigate getting the hell out of this place of battering waves, it’s hard to tell which way is up – which way to the breathable air? Salt water stings your freshly scraped knees, abraded by the sand, and fills your lungs with a choking salinity. Any intention to get out of the water gracefully is long gone.
A LITTLE HELP, God.
Finally – exhausted – you catch a momentary lull between breakers and hightail it to the shore before the ocean can pull another fast one on your landlubber ass.
Even if you’ve never been to the ocean, you probably can still relate to this experience. Because far more daunting that getting knocked down by waves is getting knocked down by circumstances. Over and over. Before you can even get your footing to accomplish the stance that might give you a fighting chance, BAM! Another rolls in, slamming you back down to your knees.
So many of the people I love are going through this phenomenon right now – being hit with one difficult life situation or loss, one worrisome financial or health battle after another.They are quite literally drowning in sorrows and anxiety.
Has a situational smackdown happened to you?
On the heels of losing your job, your significant other breaks up with you. You find out your child is on drugs, and you bounce a check trying to pay a “last notice” bill due. You find a lump in your breast, on the same day a dear friend loses her valiant battle with cancer. Your heart is breaking from an estrangement from a toxic family member, someone stole your identity after hacking into your computer. The transmission in your car finally dies. Your health issues, despite fervent and believing prayers, are only getting worse. The loss you’ve experienced in your life seems more than you can bear. And although you still have your faith, it is not the flotation device you always believed it would be. God seems to have turned a deaf ear to you (and that hurts worse than everything else combined.)
God, don’t you see I’m battered? I can’t tell which way is up anymore. I’m bleeding. I’m embarrassed that even though people keep praying for me, I’m still sick / broke / unemployed / grieving. A LITTLE HELP HERE, GOD!?
I’ve been there, several times.
“I can not take ONE more thing,” I remember telling Jesus once, right after losing a job and shortly after, getting pneumonia.
And the next day, my car konked out – for good.
“Ok, Lord…..This time I MEAN IT! I cannot handle ONE MORE THING.” And with that, another check bounced. Back to back challenges. I could scarcely find my footing.
If you are going through a season in your life where you cannot seem to escape the battering, listen up. This perfect storm of woes and worry – of loss and ‘run of bad luck’? It is shitty and horrible, but also TEMPORARY.
I won’t even pretend to know why God allows us to go through seasons of great trial in which we experience one awful thing after another, but I will tell you HE WILL NOT LEAVE YOU IN THAT PLACE.
He will never leave you there. Hold on to that floaty faith. You cannot STAY under, and as long as it is attached to you. You may still be knocked down and stunned and embarrassed, but you will not perish. This too (as cliche as it sounds) WILL pass. He will set your feet on solid ground again.
When you can’t tell which way is up, Jesus rights you and brings you to shore.
Grace is for the person who has been so repetitively beat up that she comes out of the water with one boob and one ass cheek popped out of her bathing suit….gagging on snot and salt water. Grace kicks in when you are too winded to breathe.
There is grace in the falling. I didn’t realize it then – I thought there as only grace in the standing firm. But no, Grace in its purest form was not withheld from me in seasons of rapid-fire heartbreak.
I’m so grateful for Jesus and His propensity for delivering us from smackdown mode at just the right time. I’m grateful that He gives us the strength to hold on to faith so we may frolic another day.
God bless us, every one.