I sat on the stump of an old apple tree. The sweet smell of blackberry cane mingled with the salty scent of the sea. The foggy curtain unfurled to reveal the bay; so calm and smooth I could see every detail of every tree and ray of light reflected on the water’s crystal surface. The birds welcomed the dawn’s golden light. All was peaceful. I feel so blessed to call this my home.
I breathed in deep and let it out slowly. I remember another time when I sat by the sea, but it was a very different time, even if it wasn’t such a different place. I had felt displaced. The storms of life were tossing me and there was no peace for my rolling mind as wave after wave of troubled and anxious thoughts crashed through me. I had to get away. I found myself on a rock on the edge of the sea and I wept, my salty tears joining the ocean.
When I finally looked up, I took a deep breath of the briny air that blew on my face and dried my tears. I looked out at the sea. Blue spread out before me, around me, above me. Open, wide, powerful, and free. But also, steady. The powerful tide slipping in and out like clockwork. In that moment a peace washed over me, out there where there was room to breathe, because I know Someone who is like the sea.
All through the Bible, God tells us He never changes; like the ocean tide, He’s steady and constant. We fall, He picks us up. We turn to Him, He comforts. We seek Him, He speaks to us. Our God is always the same. Always just. Always loving. Always merciful. The writer of Hebrews said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (Heb.13:8). Similarly, John wrote in Revelation 1:8, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.’”
When God told Moses His name was “I AM” in Exodus 3:14 He was saying that He never changes, never goes away, and was never nonexistent. “I am Who I am, tell the Israelites that ‘I AM has sent me to you.” I am Who I am. What a statement. This is what I am like, I have always been this way, and I will always be this way. The amazing God we see in the Bible is the same God we serve today, and the same God who will bring us home.
Jesus our Savior, Who is continually at the throne of the Father on our behalf, is just as unchanging. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus’ authority in John 8:58, Jesus said to them, “Before Abraham was, I am.” You may call this bad grammar, but the Jews knew better; they knew He was claiming to be God and they attempted to stone Him for it. Jesus, as God, claimed He always had been and always would be the same, just like the Father.
It Is Good
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights Who does not change like shifting shadows.” Just like God never changes, neither does His definition of what is good. What happens in our lives may not seem all that good to us: illness, trials, anxieties may all seem bad not good at all, but God works His good will in and through them. Likewise, smaller things like driving behind a slow car when you’re late may not seem good either.
While we only see the present moment in the place that we’re currently in, God sees everything. God sees the deer you would have hit if you’d been driving just a little bit faster. God sees the car crash that you could have been in if you’d arrived somewhere a moment sooner. God deemed it worth it for you to be late for work.
That’s how it works with the big stuff too. God sees what’s on the other side of our suffering and He deems it worth it.
You may look at the sky and scream, “Make it stop!”
“Just hold Me,” He says. “It will be worth it in the end.”
“I don’t think it possibly could!” You reply.
In a gentle and quiet voice, He whispers, “How do you know?”
You stand there in silence, unsure of how to respond.
“I know,” He says. “I know it will be worth it. Just hold onto Me and you will see.”
God declares in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” From a height greater than our own, God sees what we cannot. And with thoughts greater than our own, God plans our steps and does what is good.
It’s Worth It
Accepting this truth can help us to have peace amid the storm. Accepting the truth that God knows, God sees, God loves. For King and Country’s song, Steady, is one that eloquently communicates this truth:
“When I’m twisted up and shaken, You’re the one I put my faith in. Yeah, You’re the reason I survive. You keep me steady when the sky is falling, And I’ll keep steady after You. I’ll carry on when my strength is failing, Take heart ’cause You’re with me. So let the stars drop, whatever comes, I’ll be ready. You keep me steady.”
When anxiety plagues you as you lay on the floor, it’s worth it. As the pain is numbed by the medication, but so is your life, it’s worth it. As you walk on bloody, muddy feet along a road of sorrows, it’s worth it. It will always be worth it. Even when you can’t see how. The One Who is as steady and powerful as the sea will make it worth it.
This article is dedicated to Maria Pitman. Your strength and faith through your cancer journey is an inspiration to me and something I aspire to. My prayers are always with you, may God bless you for your faithfulness.