At times I have found myself standing on the sea shores of many countries. I marvel at how mankind has looked at these vast oceans and determined to find a way to see what was on the other side of the horizon. Some made crude rafts or dugout canoes...whatever. A lot of them never made it, but some did. As time went by, ships became stronger and more able to withstand the fury of storms at sea, but only Noah's ark (of God's design) stands out as having the most amazing ability to ride out the storms. Recognizing this, our Naval Academy points to this particular ship as unsinkable. Too bad the makers of Titanic were not paying attention.
All of us want to succeed, but quite often we do not. Discouragement sets in, then perhaps depression makes us lose hope. But when our life is rooted in Jesus, we have the advantage of His personal interest in our situation. For He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.
Perhaps that is your situation at this moment. You had certain goals in mind, and they may well have been good goals....but nothing seems to have worked out the way you planned. You regrouped time and again, but yet every time you thought you might be getting up off your feet...here it came once more! You get weary of the struggle.
So many are giving up it seems...the fire lacks the fuel to keep it going, but oftentimes the expectations are based...not on true revelations from the Sprit, but on personal desires that were not necessarily His will.
God needs men and women of vision...who embrace, not just the glory associated with the victories...but also the hardships and price to be paid along the road. I am sure you would agree that it hasn't been easy at times, and somewhat discouraging when you've had to stand alone with the indifference of others who do not share that vision with you. Yet that is exactly why God sometimes sends us through trials...to let us obtain understanding of His ways and to prepare us for yet harder times only He can foresee.
As you know, I have had one year of physical " waves" pounding my shoreline...and as each sickness was faced and overcome, another would surface...again and again. But each was a lesson to be learned, a victory to be obtained, a greater understanding to be revealed. My last hurdle hip surgery, has left me with a decided limp which may or may not be correctable. Yet our wonderful Lord showed me something by the Spirit:
Jacob wrestled with an angel all night long, and during that time was touched in the hollow of his thigh and that hip became dislocated. I know personally how painful that was! Yet he kept on wrestling and would not give up until the angel would bless him. And notice, even after the blessing was given, Jacob limped the rest of his life as a sign to all of Israel...that he had wrestled with God and prevailed...not because of his personal physical strength (remember his hip was dislocated!) but because of spiritual desire which would not be denied. Were we not to know about his wrestling match, we might think he was unqualified to do much of anything due to his physical limitations. But this is exactly the point. It is when we are weak that we can become powerful in His strength. When we cease from our labors and enter His rest we build a powerful faith in God. Paul learned this lesson so well that he actually gloried in tribulations and trials and even embraced them.
Harbor ports are places which have two purposes: to provide transient ships a safe haven from storms...and as a destination to unload, refuel, and make repairs. They may also be the home port for ships to launch from. Good sailors long for salt air and calm seas, but all of them are aware of their limitations in the face of angry waves.
So many are eager to launch out...they hear others speak of exotic places and grand adventures. But many things put up unheeded signals: The ship has not had the barnacles scraped off, the iron painted, the sails mended, and the hull has no cargo. Nor have they received the course and timing plotted by the Captain. They tug at the anchor in frustration before the ship is ready and the skies fair. Many set sail... mutinously leaving the Captain behind...eventually becoming spiritual shipwrecks stranded on uninhabited beaches.
God IS wanting to say something to us: Without Him, we can do nothing. With Him, we can ride out the fiercest of storms in a ship that is unsinkable!
A good Captain inspects His boat and never launches until all is ready. But he also will not pay the berthing fees for his fleet to remain idle for long. When all is ready, the fog horn will sound loudly in the sailor's ear....the time has come! Weigh anchor!
We must not fail to learn these important truths for ourselves
and teach them to the eager, starry-eyed precious ones wanting to jump
onboard. A sailor's first lesson is how to tie a rope....the second
is how to use it.
MARY E. ADAMS
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