Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
Last summer I stood in awe in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. It was a different kind of awe than I have experienced at the water’s edge in the east where I live. Standing on the sandy beaches of the east leaves you with an awe of how big our God is, but it is also full of memories of frolicking in the sand, playing and swimming in the water, enjoying a family vacation and relaxation. The ocean of the west has left in my mind an altogether different impression. Yes, I felt small and in awe of the greatness of God’s creation, but what filled me most was an awe of the power of our Almighty Lord. I stood there beside great rock formations standing tall and firm. I stood in the waves watching the sun go down, feeling their power, admiring their beauty, but with a reverent fear knowing that going out too far, or waiting too long as the tide rolled in, could cause me to be overtaken by their power. I went with an easterner’s view of a fun day at the ocean, and I left with an overwhelming awe of my God.
I came into my adult life and even into my Christian walk with the same kind of naïve ignorance, envisioning that “happy day at the beach” kind of feeling as being what the everyday reality of my life would be. I have found, though as time has passed, what life has brought me more of is the crashing and powerful kind of waves, which if you are not careful, will knock you right over. For a long while, I laid out my beach towel and umbrella and lived in my imaginary picture of how my perfect life should be, but the waves kept crashing in until I could no longer keep up my charade. Down I would fall, then get up and dust myself off only to be knocked down again. And again, and again, until I could get up no more. It was there I found I did not have the strength to live this life alone. I was weak, and had no idea what I even needed, until my heart found my Saviour.
It’s been ten years now since the day that I finally realized that I could no longer hold together the image of a perfect fantasy life. Life is not really like that, and I now find freedom in admitting that this past year has been nothing of the happy day at the beach kind of life that my heart so desired when I was younger. It has been a west coast experience, with the waves of change crashing in on all sides. Just when I think that I have gained my balance, in comes another wave bigger than the last, threatening to knock me over and drag me out to sea.
Sometimes my heart longs for relief, but then I remember those huge rock formations jutting out of the ocean, seeming to laugh at the waves attempting to crash into them and wear them down. What my heart really longs for is to be like those huge rocks standing in power against the waves. I long for my Sweet Jesus, the One who endured the cross, full of Love, power and strength, to look down at me and find me standing firm. It is my prayer that my season of struggle will only wear down all of me that is weak and unstable in the battles of this life, and leave only a strong faith that is of our Almighty God.
May I join Paul in saying from my heart, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… that I may gain Christ… I want to know Christ ~ yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Ephesians 3:8,10
Our Jesus never promised that our life would be without storms, and trials. He never promised that it would be easy, but He did promise that He would be with us. He promised to give us everything we need to stand, even when in the most powerful waves of struggle, and even when an onslaught of fiery darts comes against us.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14-17
Whatever comes against me in this life, may it be small, but threatening waves, or may it be a gale-force wind ~ at the end of the day when Jesus looks upon me, may He find me still standing. Standing in His strength, filled with His beauty and majesty, to His glory!
Stand firm then…