Earlier I heard a quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”
This stuck a chord with me for a number of reasons. One quick thing you should know about me is that I love quotes. I’m one of those people that likes to find a meaningful something said by an important someone for every pretty picture I take on my iPhone, it’s how I fill the creativity gap in my life that I have from living in an apartment and not being able to make things very often. Also I think that words have a certain power to them that escapes every other medium. They transcend any particular image or time period and speak to the experience. The simple act of understanding the words of a sentence brings about any number of memories and associations. It’s actually amazing to think about how we make connections in this way, but anyway I digress from my actual point.
This has been a really tough year for me. My life has felt tossed about and assaulted by wave after wave that throws me into the rocks of hardship, stress, and confusion. Often I have looked to the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water in Matthew 14 and see myself in Peter as he looks to the storm around him and begins to sink, and often I have found comfort in the fact that Jesus takes hold of me when I lose sight of him through my troubles. I have accepted time and again that hardship is part of the Christian life, and that perseverance and trust are necessary for my growth as a follower of Christ. This truth has helped me to get back up each time I have been knocked down by bad news, family trouble, disappointment, heartbreak, death, pain, inconvenience, and injury. I have looked to Jesus as the lighthouse that guides my way, and the pure water that refreshes my soul. To hear a quote of waves that throw me against the rock, this is nothing new. If anything I have come to believe that suffering is one of the few universal human experiences.
Instead it is the way that Spurgeon addresses this wave, as a friend to be greeted. He kisses the source of his hardship as though he has long expected and awaited its arrival. I think this reflects an understanding the truth behind the storm. How often do I look at my pains and ask myself when it will be over, and how often do I let bitterness have a corner to fester in my heart. Instead I should be greeting each test as a new place to experience growth and place more trust on God who I know is for me. In fact, the more I look at the quote the more clear it becomes that the rock I am being thrown against is not a rock of hardship, but the rock of my salvation. If I believe as I do that Christ is my foundation through the storm, then I will not be moved.
It brings my mind to a passage in Hebrews 12 that speaks to the struggles of this life as the discipline of a father to his son. It encourages those undergoing difficulty and trouble to endure without growing weary or fainthearted, because through it God is sanctifying us like a precious metal is purified by fire.
This brings to my mind a story about a man I met earlier this year. His testimony convicted and amazed me because of the amount he has endured, but still holds fast to his faith. I will share his story another time because it deserves its own post.
All this said, I was convicted by this quote to take joy in my suffering, because God is using it for good in a way that I may not see yet, but is greater than my temporary comfort.
Pray that I may persevere through the difficult things of life, and look to God for the greater joy of his plan for me.