There I was, gasping for air as one wave after another pulled me under. I reasoned with myself that I knew how to swim and I began to frantically kick my feet and flap my arms – but I continued to sink. I reached out to others around me – someone, anyone to hold on to. They steadied me for a while, but the waves were too strong…and I let go. As I began to sink further and further into the dark, murky waters, I realized I had no more strength, no control – and finally let go. That was the moment, I fell into His arms and allowed myself to be held.
It’s one thing to say you have faith and carry this knowledge within you and another to be called to live it out. After a very challenging year, which ended with the death of my beloved father-in-law and a child being diagnosed with a serious heath condition, the above story was what life felt like. Have you ever gone into the ocean and been tossed about by one wave after another, finding it hard to catch your breath? This is the only way to describe the turmoil I felt inside.
I finally found the courage to share with a friend that I was struggling with my faith and not sure that I could move beyond these trials and tribulations. This “epiphany” came when I heard a song that used to sing with such gusto, and its words stopped me in my tracks:
I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, that you are who you are, no matter where I am, every tear I’ve cried, you hold in your hand, you never left my side, and though my heart is torn, I will praise you in the storm.
I thought my faith was strong enough to praise God in the storms of my life, but when faced with actually doing it, I found myself complaining, doubting, and sinking deeper into my own world of despair. I hated having no control! I remember crying out to God “I can’t take any more of this”! I guess I was expecting God to just take it all away and say “Oh, okay sweetie, I’ll move on now.” But instead, I felt a sense that God was simply preparing me for something more.
My initial reaction was fear. No, I don’t want anything more – I’m not your girl! It wasn’t until I cried what felt like every tear my body could possibly make and surrendered it all. Admitting I had absolutely no control over these things and giving that control over felt like I was dying. And I was. I finally understood what it meant to die to self and it was a choice I realized that I had to make over and over again in my walk of faith. We must ask in faith without doubting and trust that God will provide for us.
But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8
God gives us wisdom by trials and testing, which produce endurance and finally maturity. So when the storms come, believe – don’t doubt. Be prepared by staying in and studying His word. Remember the moment Peter began to sink was when his eyes turned away from Jesus.