Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Overexposed, but you get the feel of what I'm describing.
Have you ever been adrift at sea/ocean/lake/relatively large body of water? Without an engine? Without a paddle? Without a compass? Sometimes I imagine myself in this little canoe. Sitting and looking at endless stretches of water. Without any comprehension of direction, or which way land is. Sounds like a pretty dire situation, doesn't it?

Once upon a time, when I went through what was for me an extreme and drastic transition, my mental image of myself was one of being swept down a rushing and raging river. The sheer power of which I was helpless against. Not only helpless, but threatened to be pulled under and completely lost. But I wasn't. Repeatedly, in that image, there was an anchor (like one from a massive cruise ship). I wrapped my body around the shank of the anchor, and the arms held me from being overpowered by the current. And the water rushed by.

Now that I think about it, anchors are made to sink under water, holding one's choice of flotation vessel from floating away. Probably not the best choice to hold on to it if one has certain needs, such as a constant and plentiful supply of oxygen. But this anchor in my mind's eye did not sink. Rather it was connected to something. In that river that was strong enough to cause even a heavy anchor to be pulled along, this anchor was connected to something stronger than that river.

Back to the first water image. Again I find myself in new territories, stripped of what had become familiar and comfortable. Instead of a violent river, the slow, subtle rock and ebb of water wears away at me. Sometimes, this is more dangerous because it's easy to become unaware of the degradation.
In the midst of this, two things have been resonating reminders, ones that I am thankfully unable to shut off. Steadfast Love and Joy in Suffering.

Gently bubbling water; gentle and
As I have been working my way through Psalms, "steadfast love" has appeared countless times. I don't know if it's a different translation or I simply never noticed it before or maybe through my need, those words became stark. Steadfast. Not going anywhere. Here to stay. In my raging, rushing river or lulling, numbing ocean, He is Unchanging. Not just unchanging and constant, but LOVE. Not a cold block of stone, but Love. Love that is brimming, living, abundant, lavish and complete. There for the happy and there for the brokenness. Steadfast. Love.

I heard a sermon a couple weeks back on James 1:2-8. Kicker. JOY in SUFFERING. Totally a counter-world concept. First, the world tells us that we should not suffer. Yet. Suffering exists because sin exists. And sin... well sin definitely exists in this world. Second. JOY in the smack-dab-middle of suffering. Now, suffering can look like all kinds of things. For this speaker, his particular example was an infestation of mold. Not exactly floods, disaster or genocide, however it is still suffering. But, no matter what you are suffering through, suffeJOYring.

I suppose what has been rolling through my mind from this is that the focus should not be on me and my suffering, but on Jesus and how the truth of what He has done (giving his perfect life for our sinful one) trumps everyyyything else. And the joy of this knowledge, this truth--it engulfs and overcomes suffering.

I realize these thoughts are still developing, but it's a start. Hopefully it brings to you encouragement as you face your rushing river or erosive lake.

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