I came across Charles Spurgeon’s quote “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages” and it really was a wow moment for me. If you’ve been going through any kind of trial, you already know those waves can feel or actually be gargantuan and come crashing down at seemingly the worst times. They can beat you to a pulp relentlessly and you just wish they would stop for a moment so you could catch your breath through it all. I know for me I’ve felt like this so many times even thinking, “I wish it would stop long enough so I can just refocus my eyes on Jesus” yet all the while not realizing it’s those very waves that are already bringing me closer in relationship with Him.
It is part of my routine, whether I’m on the healthier side or in a pain flare, whether I’m happy or sad, energized or exhausted, feeling hopeful or hopeless, and whether I have a little or a lot of time, I sit every day and have devotional time with my Savior. I need that time and if it gets skipped, I can tell a difference. Yet it’s the times when I’m in a pain flare, sad, exhausted, and hopeless that in my heart I don’t walk to Jesus, I run! There are days when I physically am not able to do my daily routine or move in anyway without an extreme amount of pain, but regardless I can cry out to my Lord and Savior for help and I know that He hears me and is my very present help in time of need. He won’t abandon me and He gives me His grace to get through anything.
Lately, Philippians 4:6-7 has been coming up a lot and it’s such a sweet reminder that when those waves are crashing down and roaring all around, to bring it to the Lord in prayer and give thanks to Him through it. Verse 7 then comes with a promise that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This is the kind of peace that doesn’t make sense to the world because it doesn’t make sense that someone should have any kind of peace when going through hardship, when their body and/or mind are in anguish at circumstances that they don’t have control over. There is a peace that even the world experiences when you understand what’s going on. If you’re having health issues and you finally get a diagnosis and treatment options, there’s a kind of peace that comes from finally knowing what’s plaguing you and how to combat it. Anytime we know and understand why, there is a level of peace, and yet the peace that God is promising to us when we thank Him and bring everything to Him in prayer is HIS peace which far surpasses the peace you get when you understand what is going on. His peace is a peace that you can rest in regardless of the unknown, regardless of the questions, regardless of the pain.
I have experienced this peace through trials in my life and even more often as I continue in this ongoing battle against neurological conditions that is determined to cause me pain and deteriorate my body. Years ago, as the condition was progressing in a way I never knew possible, I had symptoms that looked very much like a stroke. The ER physician thankfully noticed my eyebrow twitch and didn’t administer the clot buster that could have killed me since I wasn’t actually having a stroke. After being discharged from the ER with no answers other than a referral to neurology, and at that point being paralyzed on my right side with only the ability to speak few word sentences with slurred speech, I thought I probably had a brain tumor or something.
I remember very vividly sitting on the couch with my husband wondering if I had a terminal diagnosis or seemingly at the best be stuck in this paralyzed and disabled state, and thinking, “Lord, you know what’s going on in my body and if you’re going to call me home soon, so be it, but if not please heal me. Regardless of what Your will is in this, You know I just want to bring you glory through my life, no matter how much longer that may be.” And you know what, yes I cried, but I had a peace that rushed over me and kept me calm as I went on the journey through physical, occupational, and speech therapy and beyond into further investigation of symptoms. I wasn’t always in a perfect mood or happy go lucky, but I was at peace.
As I have continued on through this trial and other symptoms have crept in, I continue to grow closer and closer to my God. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand how to support or interact with a person who is battling with a chronic illness, especially one that is constantly changing in the pendulum swing of ups and downs. However, experiencing that my High Priest, who is able to understand exactly what I’m going through and is always available to listen to my cries, lift me up in His hands, pray for me, speak truth and promises to me, and supply me with His grace, strength, and peace has grown me so much closer to Him. He is so kind, even when I need a little pep talk to remind me not to wallow in my pain or feel sorry for myself. He is so faithful to come to my aid and bring people into my life to show me love and support. He is so merciful and gracious that He has given Jesus as our sacrificial lamb for our sin and Holy Spirit to dwell within and upon us. God is good!
As I read this quote over, I came to the realization of what Spurgeon was saying. I really am grateful for those waves and the trial that has allowed me to grow so much closer to my God in a way that I could never have imagined. He is my everything and I can’t do life without Him, but when I was healthier I sometimes lived as though I thought I could. Yes, I was still abiding before but there wasn’t that sense of urgent dependency that I have experienced in health crisis. The enemy may intend for those waves to press me under their heavy weight and crush me and strike me down over and over to destroy me, but my God wraps His arms around me and hides me in the shadow of His wing and in that cleft of the Rock that keeps me from being crushed when I’m pressed and saves me from destruction when I’m struck down time and time again. I honestly wouldn’t change my circumstances even if God said I could go back in time and not have this battle. I do regularly pray and ask for healing and I believe He will one day do that, but regardless my trials have and are helping shape and mold me into the image of Jesus and grow closer to Him so I wouldn’t change that for the world!
When looking at it from the proper perspective, trials do press us on every side and strike us down, but God promises that we won’t be crushed or destroyed so all those waves are doing is pushing us closer to our Rock of Ages and striking us down creating a complete dependence on Him with our faces at His feet in worship and awe of His goodness through it all. With that, I completely understand and wholeheartedly agree that “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages”!