When first saved and in our new-found joy of sins forgiven it seems that the way to the glory, to the land of fadeless day with its eternal sunshine, is smooth sailing and we breathe the air of happiness and peace! At the time, we think it would be wonderful to remain in this atmosphere of unspeakable joy! There are degrees of joy when first saved: the child, the teenager, the adult, and the old all have their own measure. Even in our conversion story some have a greater degree of appreciation than others. The truth of Luke 7:47 is relevant, “Her sins which are MANY are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
First days or months
These are the happy ones! Christ fills the heart and satisfies! From darkness to light! From the horrible pit to the firm rock! From sighing and sinning to song! From the old empty novels to the pure Word of God! The spiritual eyesight dwelling upon the heavenly manna! The soul was lifted above the world and its foolish ways! Happy first days! Holy living! Christ had priority in our lives. Lord, bring us back again to the former days!
Here the waters become a little rough! The storms begin to erupt! And what was once so calm and peaceful is now turbulent! It is so unexpected and unanticipated. But it comes, and we are at times made to wonder and ask questions. Is this the right way? Is this the will of the Lord? Thoughts become confused. The heart trembles. There is a measure of fear. We get discouraged by the way – sometimes despairing! Unbelief lurks in the shadows and loneliness is experienced. We never thought it would be this way! We suddenly face waves of affliction, storms of sickness, disappointment with friends, the loss of a job, financial woes. We feel the burden of an unsaved family, the loneliness of the pathway. We seem to be failures. Others seem to have calm waters and nothing seems to rock their boats. But remember, God is leading the right way, testing our confidence in Him. “Before I was afflicted I went astray,” (Psalm 119:67). God’s most tried are His most loved! “When He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold,” (Job 23:10). There are great lesson in trials: they help us to understand the compassionate heart of God and the deep sorrows others are enduring. The believer who learns these lessons has a ministry that becomes most valuable to others who are being tried.
In the ups and downs of life’s voyage we are taught lessons we would never learn otherwise. The seminaries can teach theology and knowledge! But the north winds of affliction teach trust and confidence in God. Job-like we learn to say, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” His way is best! The fisherman is taught by experience to brave all kinds of weather; at times it is tough going! But he learns to ride through the storm. The believer is likewise taught the lessons of life’s sea. When all is past he looks back and sees the controlling hand of Him whose way is in the sea. Experience accomplishes what theology or textbooks could never do. While we maximize the need of saturating our souls with the Word of God, experience is God’s school of training. The tests are to strengthen, establish, and settle us in the path of His will. “The trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried (proven, tested) with fire,” (1 Peter 1:7). “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71 ).
Ah, beloved, storm-tossed, afflicted in body, grieving over the loss of a life’s partner, or weeping over the prodigal son or daughter, look upward to the Man on the Throne. While He walked among men, He knew weariness, weeping, the thorns, the wounding, and the wrath. His sorrows were deep and unfathomable, and His sufferings were many; “The storm that bowed His blessed head is hushed forever now!”
We look to Him and recognize that every wave that strikes us He first felt in all its force! Before it strikes you, dear child of God, it first struck Him. He tempers the trial, for He knows what we can bear. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. We are victorious in life’s tempestuous sea. With Christ in the vessel, we are victors! While it is only hymnology, we do sing, ” … we can smile at the storm.” At times, even this is not easy; but beloved, we know we can always trust Him in the storm! When all is past, we can raise our sweet “Ebenezer” and say, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”
All trials will end when we enter our desired haven; it will be heaven at last. Home at last! Blessed be His Name! When we retrace the faithful hand of our loving Savior we will appreciate and fully acknowledge, “as for God His way is perfect,” and only then will we understand His grace to us on “life’s tempestuous sea.” In heaven all is bliss and glory, all is calm; we shall finally enter the eternal habitations where there shall be no more sea! Amen!
The Christian’s Storm
When first the voyage started, seas were calm,
With south wind blowing soft, we moved along,
And thought the sailing good on seas of glass,
Until the storm did break with sudden blast.
And then in raging tempest, hope seemed gone,
As billows, low’ring, dark, went rolling on,
The heart was troubled with no stars in sight,
We could not see a way, gone was the light.
Twas then we heard that voice, the voice that cheers,
It speaks above the waters, quells all fears.
It is the voice of Him, whose hand controls
Each mighty wave, directs where each one goes.
And never gives too many; ‘Tis His will,
To teach us the great lesson, “Child! Be still,
And know that I am God, none else beside.
In Me, dear storm-tossed one, thy soul can hide.”
He loves us still when hearts are fearful, torn,
He gives us peace and comfort in the storm.
The Savior’s Storm
There was a storm that broke unknown to man,
Unfathomed in its depth, who can it scan?
Only the Mighty God its depths can know,
When my blest Savior felt each heavy blow;
All waves, all billows, rolled across His breast,
He felt them all to bring us peace and rest;
His shame! His pain! His deep despairing cry,
Eli! Eli! Lama sabachthani!
Echoed! Until it reached up to the Throne,
And filled the universe with loudest groan;
But hush! The storm is past! All now is calm!
The work is done, now God can meet with man,
And through eternal ages we’ll explore,
The depths He sank when He our judgment bore.