We’ve all been there. Some more than others.
Those times when life seems like a constant struggle to keep our head above water. And the more we fight the current and waves the more tempting it gets to just give up and sink.
We look around and it seems like everyone else has made it to shore. Or it seems like maybe they were never struggling in the first place.
And we begin the chore of comparison. Maybe we start thinking that somehow they must have something we don’t. That they must be “better.”
And sometimes we can even begin to think that God loves them more. That He has blessed their lives because they are more important to Him. And that we’ve ended up being the equivalent of a red-headed stepchild in God’s kingdom.
And we console ourselves as we sink fast with the world’s most depressing party. The one of pity.
We give up and accept our lot in life. That of failure. Of being overlooked. Of loss.
The ironic thing about throwing a pity party when you’re in over your head is that it only makes you sink faster.
It’s like using a bag of rocks for a life preserver. The tighter you hold on, the deeper you sink.
The truth about going through overwhelming circumstances is that no one is exempt. We’ll all experience the desperate struggle with things stronger and bigger than us. Things out of our control.
And not one single person is worthy of being rescued. Not one single person.
Because I understand that feeling of shame when you realize that your own choices brought you to those deep waters.
Believe me, most of the difficult things in my life right now can be directly traced back to some pretty crappy decisions in my past. If I’d made better choices then, I wouldn’t be struggling through it now.
And I understand the temptation to believe that because I deserve what I’m getting that somehow I’m not capable of anything better.
But here’s the thing… deserving and receiving are not the same thing. At least not in God’s kingdom. I may not deserve God’s mercy BUT because of Jesus’s death and resurrection I am capable of receiving God’s mercy.
Maybe all the people around you say to sleep in the bed you made. But our Father in Heaven never does. Instead He says that it is by grace that you are saved- not by works.
Your salvation is a gift. Not a purchase. Not a reward. Not a prize won for a job well done.
One of the most important things you can do is to pray that God would send His Spirit to reveal to you all the lies you are believing about God, others and yourself. Because those lies are rocks slipped into your pocket by the enemy with the sole purpose of taking you down.
And then simply pray the words of Psalm 144:7:
Reach down from on high; rescue me from deep waters.
Maybe you wrestle with those lies for a while. And you can be sure that the enemy won’t give up easily. But keep turning your thoughts back to God’s undeserved love and mercy. Don’t underestimate the power of taking every single thought captive to Christ.
Examine them closely through the lens of His Word. And if it doesn’t fit… cast it away. Far away.
You won’t be able to do this alone. Or in your own strength. The truth is if you try to you are biting off more than you can chew. You’ll be fighting a battle you’re not equipped to win.
Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Armies.”
By His Spirit. Only by His Spirit can you be set free. Only by His Spirit can you be rescued from the deep waters.
I haven’t always understood walking in the Spirit. And honestly most days it’s more like crawling in the Spirit. Because I tend to still think of my actions as being the solution to my problems.
But the thing I’ve come to realize is that in deep and rough waters it doesn’t matter whether I breaststroke, backstroke or doggie paddle. I’m not getting out of it on my own. I have to look to Him and trust. Having faith that whether I sink or swim He is in control. He loves me and He will be glorified.
Wait. Trust. Lift up your eyes to the One from whom your help comes from. Don’t let bitterness and anger keep you from calling out. As a matter of fact let Him have that too.
And remember that the deep waters-whether you jumped in or were thrown in- can be a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your faith and experience His goodness and mercy.
You just need to rest, relax and trust that He is working all things for your good. To enable you to accomplish the plans He has for you. Be willing to learn. Take your time with the lessons and know that you are getting better. Even if… ESPECIALLY IF… your feet still can’t touch the bottom.