Don't Curse the Waves
While reading the words of the gospel song, Count Your Blessings—"When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed"—I was reminded of a common misperception: The big waves that hit us in life are the problem. In truth, they are not. The analogy of waves representing difficult circumstances is appropriate but the idea that the waves are somehow at fault is erroneous.
Waves do not create themselves, nor do circumstances. Waves are water set in motion by a variety of external forces—wind, earthquakes, storms, the moon, landslides, passing boats, underwater detonations, etc. Circumstances also occur naturally and by the efforts of man. Both can be regular in size, happening all the time as part of the ongoing rhythm of life, or they can be much larger, even catastrophic in nature.
Instead of cursing the waves (our circumstances) we need to recognize that they are there and be as prepared as possible. When the catastrophic happens, we need to have an emergency plan in place so we will know where to go and what to do.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Count Your Blessings, Johnson Oatman Jr.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. –James 1:5-8 (ESV)
P.S. Ever notice how "regular" varies from one individual to the next? One person may barely notice a particular challenge while another is devastated by the same trial. It is commonly because the one has survived this type of incident before, witnessing God's provision and is confident that God will continue to carry him while the other may be experiencing it for the first time. It may also be because the first is indeed being carried along by God rather than by the waves and the second is attempting to make it on his own resources alone. That is such a bad idea!