Caught in the Under-Current . . . 2/19/2014

Written by Steve Ballinger. Posted in Devotions

Caught in the Under-Current

“You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them” 

—Psalm 89:9—

I did a Google search recently and discovered that today’s world population is just under 7 billion people.  Of these 7 billion people we have many different ethnicities (Asian, African, European, Latin American, North American, Canadian, etc.) each with their own language.  We have people of many different cultures, colors, and backgrounds.  On the economic scale we have people of upper, middle and lower class.  In many parts of the world, people are living in utter poverty. I could break the population down much further, but I’ll stop here.  The question I want to ask is this—aside from the fact that we are going to die one day, what one thing do all 7 billion people on planet earth have in common?   The one thing that everyone can relate with is—Grief.  Everyone grieves.  Whether it’s grieving the loss of a job, the loss of a love one, or a personal physical loss, we all know what it feels like to grieve. 

Grief takes you to the top of the wave and then breaks, and in the breakwater you struggle with the froth of emotions.  Remember this: waves—though powerful—eventually run out of energy.  As they move closer to the shore their power is spent and they slowly bubble up to the edge of the sand.  My point is this: the more we stand & fight the waves, the more exhausted we become.  It’s an exercise in futility, and the same is true with grief.  Instead, we need to take a step that for many people is very difficult.  That step is the step of “yielding” to it, and let it do its work in our life.  In other words, we’re not to fight the under-current of the wave or the grief. 

Caleb was a patient man and refused to become discouraged.  Forty years later when Caleb was 85 years old, God’s people finally entered the land that God had promised to them.  As Joshua began allotting the land to the different tribes, Caleb reminded him of the personal allotment of land promised him by Moses.  It was a very mountainous area filled with all kinds of obstacles, infested by giants.  Israel’s enemies were the strongest there, and it was the most difficult part of the entire Promised Land to subdue.  Caleb feared no foe and he desired no rest.  Why?  Because he knew the Lord was with him.  He said to Joshua, “I am as strong this day as the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength . . . Now therefore, give me this mountain” (Joshua 14:11).  He was asking for mountains to climb and giants to conquer. 

Caleb wasn’t content with the easy path in life.  He wasn’t afraid of the giants in his life.  Why?  Because he never forgot the promises of God.  In Numbers 14:9, after the men had spied out the new land, 10 having given a bad report, Caleb attempts to encourage the people by saying, “do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey . . . and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”  The difference between him and the 10 spies was their awareness of God.  Caleb’s strength was in the Lord, and He knew that God would never fail him.  He knew that his God was bigger than any mountain or any giant he would ever face. 

The secret to Caleb’s life is found in a phrase that is repeated six times in scripture, “He wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.”  This doesn’t mean that Caleb was faultless or that he never blundered, and that he was absolutely perfect.  It does mean that he was loyal and devoted to God, and that he put God first in all things. 

What about you and I?  What mountain stands before us?  What giant stands in our way?  Is it a relationship, a workplace, or a church issue?  Is it a giant of fear and failure waiting to crush you?  Is it the mountain of debt?  Is it the giant of illness?  Have you been told you’re about to lose your home to foreclosure?  Have you recently been informed that you have cancer?  There is no question that these are difficult issues to have to deal with, but, let us remember the promises of God as Caleb did, “. . . the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”  As we totally surrender to God; giving Him our undivided attention; remaining loyal and devoted to Him; wholly following Him; remembering there is no mountain and no giant too big that our God is not bigger, then, we can say as Caleb did . . . . . . . . . .

“The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.”

—Psalm 93:4—

If God is for us, who can be against us,

Chaplain Steve

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