We all know the verse from Solomon in Ecclesiastes, "there is a time and place for everything under the sun." Sometimes though, time is cut short and a place is temporarily shut down, moved or disrupted. Is it a challenge in life where a choice is made: to give up, call it a day, or see it as an opportunity to grow and persevere, wait and watch what God has next, what He makes new, what we reap ourselves from the situation.
We can just give up, get bitter, graft in resentfulness, groan, quit or we can continue to communicate, encourage, reinvigorate, strengthen and pray more!
I am reminded of a beautiful blond young girl who loves to surf, Bethany Hamilton. Taking her sport to the next level in competitions, she excelled. At the young age of 13, she encountered a shark in the waters of her home in Hawaii. It took her arm. She would fight to live and then regain her strength. She never for a moment thought to give up her love of her sport or think that she couldn't continue, much less compete again. Amazingly she was back on a surfboard within a month of the accident! She would continue to heal, face her challenges and went on to win a national championship!
To be a great surfer requires significant balance, a skill Bethany found to be her new challenge with only one arm. She'd have to carry her board into the surf, swim, haul herself up, use the rest of her body in additional ways to compensate, hold herself upright on her board while catching the swell of the wave and staying under the curl for the long ride.
Do you think she looked out for sharks while she was doing all this?
I think that was just it. She wouldn't let this challenge stop her from continuing on with the gift God gave her. Eventually, her story of faith and perseverance would inspire many.
In the face of a challenge to continue to do the work of the Lord, to do good, Paul instructs us to not give up, don't get discouraged, don't lose heart. Even if it seems we are missing parts. In regrouping and considering, knowing all the resources and commitments willing to coach us back on the board, we will find our balance again because God promises us a reaping in our faithfulness.
So let's ride the wave of challenges in our life with the hope and strength of the Lord. He'll provide for us the magnificent paddle out through perseverance, the strength through the Body of Christ to stand upright, the balance of relying on God to keep us steady despite our weakness, our feet firmly planted on the board we are familiar with, and the ride of a lifetime that breaks on the shores of Eternity, all for His Glory.
Warning for Sharks: Our God is Bigger!
Thank you Lord for Your promises of hope when we persevere through temporary, challenging moments. Thank you Lord, that we are not alone in this, but that we can come together and find solutions, pray together, encourage one another and even take on more responsibility for a certain time until Your will and resolutions grace us into a new season of doing Your good work. Help us Lord through our weary days, that we can be refreshed by Your Word, your supernatural appointments with us, and by others within our divine circle of like-minded "surfers." Thank you for helping us along the way to gain our balance and see the shore through Your eyes which see to an eternal perspective. Help us Lord to keep the JOY while persevering, laying it out like diamonds on the sands under our feet, for Your hope that sustains. Amen.