Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Always Living for God


"We live for God wherever we are, knowing He has put us there."

This past December, a pair of friends from New Jersey set sail for Florida in their Catalina 30 sailboat, seeking a warm escape from the winter. The voyage was going well until they encountered a storm near North Carolina and their boat was damaged--including the ripping-away of their sail. For ten days the men were effectively lost at sea, having no power to rig or steer, as yet another storm rocked their boat, sending them even farther from shore. Their cell phones were dead (they drifted too far for cell service, anyway). They had little food and eventually ran out of water.

Figuratively speaking, the storms of life sometimes have us feeling a bit lost at sea. There are even those times when "life comes at you hard" and we endure particularly excruciating hardship. Circumstances change radically; love is lost, harm is done, and the pain is overwhelming. It can be very disorienting, even causing us to feel hopeless.

But is life ever hopeless? It depends.

When Job was rocked by the waves of despair, he said, "Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn. My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus. My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope," (Job 7:4-6, NLT). When we fail to account for God's eternal work in our temporary struggles, not relying on His sovereign care or laying our souls down before His righteous providence, we will feel utterly hopeless, as if lost at sea. If God Himself is our anchor, then life without Him must be life adrift.

The apostle Paul reminds Christians that the life adrift was the essence of our lives before Christ, as those "having no hope and without God in the world," (Eph 2:12). "But now," he continues, "in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ," (2:13). Brought near to what? We've been brought near to Jesus, "who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption," (1 Cor 1:31). Yes, He is our very life and hope (Col 3:4, 1 Jn 3:2-3).

So whether you feel like you're floating in a vast expanse of endless blue waters with a disoriented gaze or you're standing on a mountaintop with a conquering stance and refreshing perspective, remember that it is God who has put you there--and He has done so that you may rely on Him more, constantly falling back onto His gentle and gracious care. Life is only hopeless if you disregard the God of your salvation; you're only adrift if you forsake your Anchor. Recognize the hand of God and live for His glory.

Oh, those men with the boat? They were found by a crew on an oil tanker just in the nick of time, and they safely returned to their families.

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