Big Waves and Strong Undertows


Did you know that the Pacific Ocean is known for big waves and strong undertows? Well, I learned that first hand on vacation when I was twelve. My family and I were having a good time in the ocean when the tide quickly changed. The big waves turned into huge waves, and the undertow got increasingly stronger. I vividly remember looking out at the ocean only to see an enormous wall of water coming our way. Noticing the fear on my face and realizing he wasn’t close enough to help me, my father calmly instructed, “don’t panic, just dive through it before it breaks on you.”

Well, I panicked! And, I didn’t dive through the wave like he said. I froze with fear and allowed the wave to pick me up and slam me face-first against the sand and shells. I was completely disoriented, not knowing which way was up or down. If that weren’t bad enough, the undertow quickly pulled me back, and I got caught in another vicious wave cycle.

With some help from my family, I was eventually able to fight the undertow and run back to the beach. I’d like to say I was cool and collected, but I was anything but that. I was covered in sand from head to toe and had scrapes all over my body. In fact, I had so much sand in my bathing suit that I could have made a sandcastle from it. Completely shaken up by the whole ordeal, I refused to even go near the water to rinse off.

Interestingly, even though I looked like I had just escaped a shark attack, my family looked unscathed. They went through the same waves I did, yet they weathered them effortlessly. Why? They didn’t panic. They listened to my father’s instructions and dove through the waves with confidence.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” – Isaiah 43:1-2

Ladies, the tides of life sometimes change on us and generate some pretty big waves. Our Heavenly Father tells us not to panic or fear. If we listen to His direction during these tumultuous moments, we too can come out unscathed. When we trust in our own strength or let fear paralyze us, we can easily be tossed around and pulled out to sea. Our trust needs to be in Him.

I don’t know what wave you are facing in your life, but I am confident that the Lord will guide you through it with His loving care. He is a compassionate father who wants to protect you from harm. Don’t get intimidated by the size of the wave. Remember, with God, there is no wave too big or undertow too strong!

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” – Psalm 91:14-15

In the barrel of a perfect wave.

Through the Fire

Are you going through a difficult situation? Are you wondering where God is in the midst of this hardship? Perhaps, you are suffering with pain or sickness. Maybe, you’re barely able to make ends meet financially. Is your marriage hanging on by a thread? Has your child turned his back on God? You wonder,

God, do you even hear me or is it that you just don’t care about me? 

I realize that these trying times certainly can be discouraging. I understand. I have been there. But in these moments, we need to draw into God like never before.

We must continually remind ourselves that, with God, there is always purpose in every situation, even if we can’t see it. Do we dare live outside our understanding and trust Him unconditionally?

When my faith begins to waver, and my heart becomes overwhelmed, I cry out to the Lord, and He answers me with His Word. I am reminded that I am not alone in this battle. He is always with me.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” – Isaiah 43:1-2

All I know is that God loves me dearly. He obviously has a purpose for the challenges I go through. Once you truly grasp Christ’s love for you and that He has a perfect plan for your life, you will have peace knowing He is in control.

As much as we all dislike them, trials are an essential part of every Christian life. Spiritual growth and faith develop most in the seasons of difficulty. Jesus may allow us to go through the fire to make us stronger. And even though you sometimes can’t feel His presence, remember God promises:

 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5

Preparing For the Storm

New England weather is quite erratic. One morning you have the heat on and that same afternoon you need to turn on your air conditioning. So it is no surprise to us when a November snowstorm heads our way. When those newscasters start mentioning snow, we New Englanders know exactly what to do. Get gas for our snow blowers and generators, de-icer for the walkway, and of course, bread and milk, just in case we are stuck in our house for days, which incidentally never happens. Proper preparations are necessary for weathering any storm. Most of the time, like this recent storm, we get by quite easily. But every so often, we get clobbered with a doozy of storm, and we are very thankful that we took care of all the necessary preparations. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ice storm, blizzard or hurricane; those who are ready pass through them all with confidence and peace.

In the same way, the Christian life requires preparation. You can never know for sure when a storm will show up on your radar screen. Much like the weather in New England, life is unpredictable. I can assure each of you that storms will come and go. The question to ask yourself is how can you prepare properly for the ups and downs that life presents?

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  - Matthew 7:24

The best way to prepare is to ensure that our foundation is on the rock. That is, our foundation is on Jesus. Ladies, we need to spend time in prayer and in the word of God every day. The Bible is full of testimonies of God’s faithfulness toward those who love Him. Time after time, we see God’s mighty hand deliver His people from all sorts of trying circumstances. He delivered Daniel from the lion’s den; He healed the woman with the issue of blood; and He rescued Paul from the shipwreck.

We need to learn how to meditate on His word so that we are steadfast and unshaken when a storm hits. His word tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Our hearts and minds need to be in alignment with God. This can’t be done while the storm is brewing. We need to spend time preparing before the storm arrives.

I received a phone call last week that could have shaken me. Instead, my heart was prepared and full of God’s promises, which combatted the effects of that news. I was able to see past that moment, and into the future, confident of what God has ahead of me. For you see, when you are aware of the fact that God is in control of your life and loves you, there is nothing that can shake you. The storms will not beat you down.

 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:25-27