Life is crazy. We all know that. We jump from one new thing to the next. We’re always meeting new people. We’re always being thrown into new circumstances. Life is not constant. If anything, it kind of reminds me of floating in the ocean on top of a life-raft amongst the tumultuous waves.
There are times when there is a lull in the waves, and during those times things typically seem to be going rather well. Life seems calm and put together, but it doesn’t take long for a big wave to come crashing in on us to bring a little bit of chaos into the picture. Thankfully, God is an ever present constant when there is no other constant to cling to. He is the life-raft amongst the tumultuous waves.
There are also times when we become rather bold, and because of this we choose to climb out of the life-raft. We notice that there seems to be a calmness among the waves, and the storm seems to have passed, so we believe that we are safe on our own, and we choose to step away from our life-raft. It usually doesn’t take too long, however, for a rogue wave to come unannounced and send us panicking and flailing, yet the life-raft is always right there waiting for us to hop back in. The life-raft never drifts away from us. It is almost as if the life-raft is anchored down. It does not drift and sway as we do in the water. It is firmly placed. It is a strong foundation among the tossing and turbulent sea. It is truly the only foundation to be seen among the waves, so we must cling to it.
At other times we are caught by even more surprise. We believe that we are safely placed within our life-raft, but we decide to look a little too far over the edge. As we begin to lean more and more over the edge out of curiosity, another rogue wave comes and sweeps us out from under our feet. Before we know it, we are sent back into the tumultuous waves. Thankfully, the life-raft is once again waiting for us to swim back to it.
I am fully aware that the analogy that I have just presented above is most likely not the best picture I could have painted to explain my point, but it is something that I have been clinging to a lot for the past couple of months. The thought of all of this just came to me one night, and I haven’t been able to get the image of the life-raft among the waves out of my head ever since, so I figured that it would maybe be worth sharing.
Life has a way of hitting us hard at times, and when we aren’t firmly planted within the center of our life-raft it can cause major issues. I know I have encountered this same scenario on a few different occasions within my own life. I wholeheartedly believe that I am ok, but then before I know it, I am frantically looking around searching for where God (my life-raft) is, only to find that He was patiently waiting all along. Not only is He our life-raft, but He is the one with the ability to calm the strong seas and the toppling waves. Not only is He a simple life-raft, but He is like a life-raft that is stable and firm. He is the one that can help anchor us down when life seems to be hitting us from all different sides. I’d say that a life-raft that can also be anchored down is pretty hard to beat when going through the stormy seas of life. His love is unfailing, and He will always wait for us to climb back into the life-raft no matter how far away we may drift.
There are times in life when things seem to be perfect, and it is often during these moments that I find myself drifting the most. I never completely lose sight of Him, but I find myself drifting ever so slowly. Looking back on these times in my life, it brings me great sadness. A difficult lesson that I had to begin learning (and am still in the process of learning) is that God doesn’t want us to only cling to Him in the bad times, but He also wants us to peacefully rest in Him with a thankful heart during the good times. It’s the times when we begin to drift that can become so dangerous so quickly.
The Bible tells us that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. In my own life, I have found that he often likes to sneak up on us when we least expect it. I have also found that one of his favorite things to steal is joy, for when we are left with only sadness, disheartening and unhealthy thoughts and emotions are allowed to fester. When we let the enemy hit us with big waves, those waves sometimes throw us into tempestuous seas that we feel we may never find our way out of. Believe me, I know the feeling of a strong heaviness holding you down, and I also know that it so often brings with it many moments of loneliness and confusion. The important thing is that we never completely lose sight of our life-raft. The life-raft offers peace from the stormy seas, comfort when we feel lost, and stability that can be given by no other. There have without a doubt been times in my life when God was the only one that could bring me peace, comfort, and encouragement. The overwhelming sense of peace and love that comes from God is a feeling like no other. I can honestly sit here as I am writing this blog post and recall certain instances in my past where I have felt this specific comforting peace, for it left such a lasting impact on my life.
Before I could reach the peace that I am speaking of, however, I was thrown into what felt like monstrous, suffocating waves. I had been caught inside of a relationship that was very unhealthy for much too long. It left me constantly feeling as if I needed to prove myself. I was always left with a feeling that I was not quite good enough as a result of a lot of the issues that had started taking form within the relationship. The saddest thing of all for me to think about is the fact that I was so blind to how unhealthy it was for such a long time. It was as if I was experiencing all of the hurts that went along with all of the rude comments, the using my insecurities against me, and all of the lies and manipulation, yet I was still oblivious to my circumstances because I did not want to face the truth. Now, of course this relationship ended in nothing but heartache and a deep hurt after some time, for a relationship of that nature can have no other end. When the relationship was ended, I was left with a plethora of confusing emotions. I was experiencing a hurt that felt like no other, and amongst all of that hurt I was fiercely trying to battle all of the insecurities and terrible self image issues that had been born out of that relationship. To make things worse, I had ever so slowly been isolating myself from my family, my friends, and most importantly God while I was still in the relationship. This was the worst possible thing that I ever could have done, for before I knew it, it was all over, and I was left feeling hurt, confused, and as if I had nowhere to turn. I felt nothing but sadness. I felt as if I couldn’t even approach God the way I had in the past because of the way that I had distanced myself from Him, and I can’t even begin to tell you how alone I felt. It was a time in my life when I had to learn to cope with feelings of emptiness, betrayal, and a very deep hurt that felt like it was taking over everything within me. Needless to say, it was a very dark time in my life, and I had some pretty giant waves hitting me on all sides.
The hurt lasted for quite some time, but I eventually came to the realization of something that completely changed my world. Despite all of the despair that I was feeling, I found that my life-raft was still waiting for me. He never left me, and as soon as I realized how much He loved me, I jumped into the life-raft as quickly as I could. I can honestly say that that was probably the closest I have ever felt to God in my entire life. He rescued me from the waves that I felt I was drowning in, and He calmed all of the raging seas surrounding me. The peace that I had at that time in my life was the strongest sense of peace that I have ever felt, and it was most definitely at the time that I needed it most. It came like a wave over my life, and it settled within my heart ever so softly. It was a feeling of release and comfort like no other, and I have no doubt in my mind that it came from God. This peace came at a very dark time in my life, and all that I had to do to obtain it was recognize who my true life-raft was.
There are things that we may come across in life during difficult seasons, and we can easily begin to deem these earthly things as our life-rafts. I have unfortunately done this too many times to count. These life-rafts look different for all of us. It may be a relationship, a career, money, something that we feel provides us with an escape from reality, an education, social acceptance, as well as a multitude of other things. We find something that we convince ourselves will get us through our difficult times, and we cling to those things ever so tightly, yet we soon find that we are still left sinking into the depths of the sea. It is only when we find the one true life-raft that we begin to come back to the surface.
It brings me great sadness to say that I can think of many times when I have failed to make God my life-raft. He never left, and I always strove to keep Him in my sight, but I know in my heart that I began to cling to other things. One thing that I know without a doubt, however, is that I never found the same love, peace, and comfort from the earthly things that I was clinging to like what I found in God. God has a way of giving me a sense of safety that I just simply cannot find from anything else, and if you’re also searching for that sense of security, He can give it to you too.
Psalm 46:1-3 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” This verse serves as such an amazing reminder for me that my God can do it all. He is a place of refuge, and He can fight the battles that we know we cannot handle on our own. There may still be times, however, when we are required to go through stormy seas in order to find our life-raft. At the time of my deep hurt, I truly couldn’t understand why I needed to feel the way that I was feeling, but now when I look back on it I have a sense of thankfulness. The only way that I ever would have truly acknowledged God as my life-raft was by experiencing a deep hurt like what I had to face. He is our life-raft, and He can always save us from the storm if we would only reach out to Him.
As I mentioned earlier, I know that my analogy of the life-raft is far from the perfect representation of God in our lives, but it is something that I truly sat down and thought about a few months ago, and it has been tossing around in my head ever since. Picturing God as my life-raft has helped me gain a new perspective on many things in my life, and it has given me a beautiful picture of God’s love in my own life as well. I’m hoping that painting this picture of the way God can save us from life’s tormenting waves will help someone else the same way it has helped me. You are not alone! We are all essentially trying to reach the same life-raft, so let’s all swim together to find it.