by Michele Storkson
When I was younger, I lived near the beach and spent a lot of time there—even surfed a bit. It wasn’t uncommon for the water to be very quiet maybe not smooth, but rolling and peaceful. Then, the big waves would come. They’d come in sets, and we’d paddle hard and fast to be the one to catch the best wave of the day!
Sometimes though, I’d get knocked off my board by a big wave that would throw me violently under the water and tumble me until I couldn’t tell which way was up! I’d struggle to get to the surface and gasp some air, just to get hit by another wave and tumbled all over again. This would continue repeatedly and, with each successive wave, I’d become more exhausted trying to fight against the current until, finally, the set would end and I could get back to the surface and, most importantly, back in control. That’s when I’d climb back on my board, turn around, and paddle back out to wait for the next set because with experience, I had learned that, while scary and unsettling at times, finishing a ride came with an awesome feeling of accomplishment—even victory!
Now that life has put a few years and six children between me and my surfboard, I’ve come to realize that, like those waves, life’s trials can knock me out of control and leave me gasping for air, exhausted and fighting for strength, getting knocked down over and over, and feeling like the ‘set’ will never end.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been at that place—a season when the trials just keep coming and coming and you feel burdened and exhausted? It’s a really hard place to be and an even harder place to find strength, especially when you’re someone who, like me, has trouble finding peace while I’m tumbling around ‘under the waves.’
I went through one of those seasons a couple years ago when one of our adult kids made, what we knew would be a significantly painful, life-changing decision, and when we tried to give them guidance, they estranged themselves from us. Then, some months later, another one of our adult kids also disowned us for similar reasons. As if that weren’t enough, not long after this second painful event, my husband lost his job. These three ‘waves’ knocked me down and left me gasping for air, feeling like our family was coming apart, and longing for nothing more than peace in our home and the love of my children.
During this difficult time, I cried out to God, and I mean cried. Have you ever found yourself crying out for the healing power of the Holy Spirit? That’s the place I was in, where I just couldn’t see past my circumstances.I thought things would never get better and felt like my heart would never stop hurting.
I can remember feeling so worn and just wanting the hurt to stop; my heart just ached and ached. I remember praying, “Why, Lord, why?” I felt like I had tried so hard to follow His ways and be a good parent, but the waves just kept crashing down. I remember feeling so tired of it, but not knowing what to do! I couldn’t change anything about the circumstances at all! I had no control over it.
My heart was utterly broken, but in spite of all that pain, God reminded me that He is in control and that He really does know what He is doing.
I thought I already knew that, but apparently I needed a reminder! That reminder came to me in the form of a very simple message one Sunday, and, to this day, I have what our pastor said handwritten on a piece of paper on the wall above my desk. It reads:
“Prayer reminds me that I’m not in control, and it keeps me close to the One who is.”
Such an amazing statement! It’s so simple, but that is exactly what God used to lead me to an understanding of how to embrace the painful season I was in as well as to help me understand that it was just that—a season; a set of waves that would eventually come to an end.
Through prayer, The Lord reminded me of His ever-present Holy Spirit, and I began to seek Him in far deeper ways than ever before.
Through prayer, He reminded me that it’s not about what I do, it’s about what He wants even if I don’t like or understand His timing or the circumstances. He knows what He’s doing!
Through prayer, the Holy Spirit breathed new life into my tired, saddened heart and “renewed in me the joy of His Salvation!”
Eventually, that set of waves did come to an end and with that end came a new strength and a new perspective of faith that God had given me through His Faithfulness. This enabled me to climb back on my board, turn around, and get back into enjoying the amazing life and family He has blessed me with.
Our pastor also said:
“Never let the presence of a storm keep you from the presence of God.”
Now, when the next sets of waves come, and they WILL come, we can know that in His Strength, we can ride those waves and once again realize the awesome feeling of victory when the set is over!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Sisters, seek the Lord; He is where the healing is! He will bring back your joy, bring you peace, and draw you closer to Him as you seek Him and experience His healing power.