In our family history, last November 5 was a quiet day, the lull before the storm, so to speak. It was a day wedged between Nate’s death and his funeral, a period of calm after six weeks of running hard, being sad, worrying continually, losing sleep and getting tossed by the emotional waves of disease and death.
This web site, www.GettingThroughThis.com, has a picture of a giant, crashing wave as its banner. It depicts what surfers call a “tunnel” inside of rolling water so powerful it could easily overwhelm and destroy. There’s only one way to avoid being swamped, and that’s to progress through the tunnel, but with one critical condition: to keep moving forward.
Fifteen months ago we started this site with the hope it would encourage readers who were “going through” difficulties. No two of us are dealing with the same struggles, but all of us struggle. As I began posting blogs, I had no idea Nate’s cancer would soon be the white water pounding all around us. By the name “getting through this” I’d been thinking of universal frustrations such as trying to sell a house in an unstable market or coping with financial difficulty. My husband’s death? Unthinkable!
And yet that’s what our family has been “getting through” during this last 12 months. Although we’ve been trying to keep moving forward, once in a while we’ve been caught in a whirlpool, swirling round and round in the same sad place. Because of God’s involvement, however, our “getting through this” has gradually moved forward the way an expert surfer moves through the tunnel of a monster-size wave.
“Getting through” life’s challenges can feel much like surfing. Trying to sell a house might be like managing a gentle swell, while financial difficulties could be a rougher wave-ride. But when a family member dies, we feel threatened with an overhead crash. Nevertheless, the principle of survival remains the same: keep moving forward.
But can we do it without firm footing? The technical description of how a wave is formed hints at the answer:”Wind transfers some of its energy to the water by way of friction between the air molecules and water molecules.”
Waves gain energy from friction, and so can we. When life becomes abrasive, we know God is willing to provide adequate energy right behind it. He’s willing to blow a wind of vigor and endurance into our lives more powerful than any surfing wave, so potent that not even geyser-high troubles can engulf us.
Our family has asked God for that energy and endurance a thousand times during this last year, and God never said, “Not this time.”
Instead he’s delivered and “gotten us through” our tunnel of sorrow and change, one section at a time, always ahead of a swamping crash. He’s been the one who’s kept us from going under by reestablishing firm footing on biblical truth every time we felt our feet swept out from under us. But why not? We’re children of the God who has complete control over wind and waves… both water waves and waves of trouble.
Without him, though, we would surely have drowned.
“He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!” (Psalm 107:29-30)