When Life’s Undertow Threatens To Drag You Down,
by Patty @ Hearts Homeward
When I was a little girl, most summers we went to visit my grandmother in Rockaway Beach, New York. She lived in a high-rise apartment building across from the boardwalk and from her balcony we could see the ocean. Most days we took the elevators down from her apartment and walked across the street, doffed our shoes and ran for the waves.
My grandmother would yell after us, “Be careful of the undertow!”
This week, as our family went through an unexpected trial, I felt the undertow of life, threatening to drag us, hold us down and suffocate the breath out of us. I got on my email and saw blogposts which were written about hopeful and happy things and there seemed to be a curtain between my life and those around me. They were buoyant and we were struggling for air.
Did you ever notice how you can hear noises, though muffled, when you are underwater. I used to play this game with one of my best friends when we were younger where we would hold our breath, both go under the pool surface and one of us would say something to the other as we tried to decipher what was being said. God’s messages to our family felt like that this week. We were being held under, but He was sending us messages. One of the clearest things he showed us was to stay in the day at hand. So often, when we are facing circumstances which are beyond our control and certainly don’t fit into what we would like to have happen to us, we are tempted to look ahead with dread. What if the worst comes to pass? And, yet, in the midst of our undertow, God was saying, “Fix your eyes on Me – today.” We learned afresh how to stay in the moment and witness His ever-present provision, like manna – given just in the amount we need, in the form we need for our time of need.
Another sweet message God echoed through our hardships was the message of His grace and care despite our feelings or situation. One day as I was struggling to pray with any measure of faith, I heard a muffled verse reverberated in my heart.
Nothing. Not one thing … can separate us from the love of God. Memorize it if you will, but still, I promise, it takes a trial, a spiritual undertow to test the reality of that anchor in your heart. This week I got to feel that truth – God mouthing it to me under the water and me straining to make out what He was saying. Do you know it in your bones? Is it the anchor for your soul when life is sucked under and you can’t feel which way is up? I pray so.
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And He sends out lifeguards, running in with floats, searching for your outstretched hand. What can I say about the friends who prayed? They rescued us in moments when our own feelings of overwhelm and loss were just more than we could bear alone. They spoke words of love and we were given hope. It isn’t in the days on shore, basking in the sun and calm, when encouragement matters so much. It is when we are sucked down that we need the loving and heart-felt words of a friend. Just their wordless presence gave us the life raft we needed as we endured.
And now the wave has passed over and the tide has turned. And, here we are washed up safely from what we felt might drown us in many ways. And I can kiss the ground on which we stand and pick up tidbits of what washed up with us and give a dance of joy with sand in my toes and never, ever take for granted that NOTHING – no nothing – can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
Nothing. No nothing … can separate YOU from the Love God has for YOU in Christ Jesus. So, hold on when the waves roll over. He hasn’t taken His eye off you and He hasn’t saved you once so that He can let you drown now. He will use each trial to strengthen you and your faith in His goodness.