Updated: Jan 31, 2020
It has been said that God will never give us more than we can handle. I disagree. God is in the business of giving people far more than they could ever carry and Scripture proves it. Abraham was told to leave everything he knew and travel - purely on blind faith - to a place he didn't know. Joseph was betrayed and subsequently sold by his own brothers, accused of sexual assault by his employer's wife, and spent three years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Moses was responsible for leading over 2 million complaining Israelites across a desert and into the wilderness. Job lost his children, his home, his wealth, and his health all in one day. David was hunted by his best friend's dad, later hunted by his own son, and had to flee his beloved Jerusalem to hide in caves. Daniel was taken and thrown into a den of lions all because he refused to hide his prayer life. Paul endured multiple beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment, and extreme suffering. The disciple James was beheaded because he believed Jesus was God. The prophet Habakkuk was stoned. The prophet Isaiah was sawed in half.
The Scripture and Church history are stained with the tears, the sweat, and the very blood of God-followers who were given more than they could handle on their own. They were troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down (2 Corinthians 4:8-9), and hit with one tidal wave after another, yet Scripture says they were not distressed, they were not in despair, they were not forsaken, nor were they destroyed. How can that be?
The beloved and famed preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon made a powerful statement years ago. He said, "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages." There is something mysteriously compelling about such a paradoxical statement. How could it be possible to kiss the very thing that is threatening to destroy you?
Oh friend, this is where the power and majesty of the Gospel comes to life.
We can look around and easily find, whether in our own life or in the life of a friend or loved one, crashing waves and sharp, piercing rocks. They have many faces.
Cancer. Infidelity. Miscarriage. Abuse. Poverty. Abandonment. Grief. Fear. Emotional pain. Psychological distress. Accusations. Shame. Addiction. Rejection. Persecution. Insomnia. Paranoia. Betrayal. Anxiety.
Each one grabs us and pulls us into its current. Each one picks us up only to throw us back down. And what do we do? We gasp for breath, fighting each swell of the sea, and we scream "No! Why, God?!" as we are thrown onto the jagged rocks. Why would anyone ever be grateful for such a thing? Surely Spurgeon was merely being pious and overly religious to make such a statement, right? Or maybe he understood that, however perplexing earthly suffering is, its purpose is to help us develop trust in the God who calms the sea. Each breaking of our will is to fashion us into people of God who cry, "Not mine but Your will be done!" Every painful blow is to purify His people (James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6-7) and to produce the kind of intimate relationship with the Creator that makes the lost stand in awe. Scripture says that the nearness of God is our good (Psalm 73:28). Because we are fallen people in a fallen world, many times the most effective way for God to bring us close to Himself is by allowing the waves to crash, so we will then admit our helplessness and cry out to Him in faith. (Matthew 8:24-27). Spurgeon knew that there was something to learn about crashing waves. Something that reaches deep into the heart of man, past wishful thinking and surface religiosity. He learned about the deep, divine refuge of our Rock - Jesus Christ. How comforting it is to know that God does not move, nor does He change. No matter how furious the storm and vicious the waves may be, He will not bend or break. The waves may crash but they cannot crush us because each one is guided by the hand of God Himself. We can take comfort in His nature. He is dependable when all else fails. He is strong when all else is weak. When you find yourself in a sea that is pulling you apart, let your heart cry for the Rock who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). When you are desperately crying out for God to make Himself known to you in the darkness of your storm, search for the clift of the Rock so you can see His glory (Exodus 33:.22)
When are you battered and bruised by the pain, continue to praise the Rock for what He is working within you (Psalm 95:1; Romans 8:28-29).
When you are frightened by the thunder, incline your ears to hear the mighty voice of the Lord who spoke the universe into existence. (Genesis 1:3; Psalm 40:1) When the voices of the wind are telling you that all hope is lost, look up and proclaim that the strength of your God is in the clouds (Psalm 68:34).
When we are tossed by the waves, let our prayer be for the waters to pull us under until we want Jesus more. So long as we can be against the breast of God - albeit violently thrown - let us kiss every wave.
The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.