I remember an incident as a boy when we were at the Oregon Coast, and I was knocked over by a wave. The back pull of the current was so strong that I couldn’t regain my footing and was being dragged by the waves, gasping for air and thinking I was going to be dragged out to sea. Thankfully I wasn’t, so that I’m able to write you these thoughts. But for a few moments of struggling on that Oregon beach, I had trouble catching a breath or getting control of the circumstances. Although it wasn’t at a beach, my wife had a similar experience growing up on a farm in Iowa when she was playing around a grain bin while it was loading, lost her footing, fell in and was being covered by grain until noticed by her father and rescued from her crisis.
All of us have incidents and experiences and seasons in life when it feels like things are out of control and inwardly we’re gasping for air, trying to catch our breath but feeling overwhelmed and a bit like the waves of worry, fear, sorrow, anxiety, depression, discouragement, or other emotions are sweeping over us and we’re fighting a losing battle. If you’re in one of those seasons, or when you are, take heart and have courage remembering the character, promises, and plans of God for you. When you’re caught up in the experience or immediate circumstance it’s easy for that to become your main focus, but returning to the big picture in your heart and mind will bring renewed strength, hope, and courage to catch your breath, regain your footing, and find the ability to move forward and through the circumstances.
I experienced this personally during this summer season, which held many blessings for which I am deeply thankful, but also some heavy testings which related to the struggles of three of our children. As parents we naturally identify with them and carry their burdens with them, and at one point I found myself inwardly feeling like I was gasping for air, pleading for the mercy of Christ. It was in focusing on the character, promises, and plans of God for my children as well as my wife and I that was able to regain my footing and move forward with confidence and courage.
Jesus has said that he will be with us always, that he uses all things to work for the good of those who love him, that he loves us and is accomplishing supernaturally a plan for our lives that is good and pleasing and perfect. It’s important to remember that when the struggles of life start to overwhelm you and you feel like you can hardly catch your breath. At those times, take a deep spiritual breath and let the life and love of Christ renew you and let his strength be made powerfully evident in your weakness!