I sometimes escape in my mind to times resting, dreamily afloat on a raft in the ocean next to the beach. I especially remember one sweet time with my sister in the beautiful waters of the panhandle of Florida. I was peacefully rocked and cradled as those emerald waters lapped gently on the white sandy beach. There could have been turmoil all around, back home or throughout the world; but at that moment, I was at peace and buoyed by my raft on the salty, restful water. Ahh… if I could find that rest in my mind right now. Often through life I do not readily recognize I am being kept afloat or aloft. Then I look back and I see that I was buoyed through that time. On my own, I do seem to stay afloat for a while, but soon the waves come crashing in.
If I close my eyes, I can imagine those waters and escape for just a moment. Buoyed in peace.
Right now, I know a couple families under extreme pressures and difficulties. The difficulties lift for a little bit, but soon return. Day to day it is easy to feel the stress of this world pounding and buffeting us. Sometimes each pressure comes in like another crashing wave, making it difficult to catch our breath and stay afloat, for we know another wave is coming soon. There doesn’t seem to be enough rest for “in-between.”
When we or someone we love faces tragedy, financial strain, family tension, or copes with emotional damage and depression– that wont go away, how is there enough words, space, time or thought to make things better? The weight of it begins to pull, once again, like an anchor wrapped to the heart…. sinking, sinking. It feels like more than enough. What can I say to my friend, to my family, to myself? I stop. I ask and pray.
I hear Jesus say, “Take heart.”
I ask myself, where does Jesus say this, “Take Heart.” I search and find it written just before He is crucified, when He gave his life as a ransom. He says, “Take Heart,” after He just explained to his disciples that they will abandon Him. In his greatest hour of need, they will leave Him. Yet he says that the Father will be with Him. He is enough.
The Father is near, even when those closest are not. He is enough.
This is what it says,
Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:32,33
The pain, pressures and sufferings rock, batter and threaten to sink us. “Take heart” or “take courage,” He says. He is with us and gives courage for us to take and hold onto. There is hope and a hope to come. He says that he will bring all of this to an end.
Our natural way, which aches and tends towards giving in… will end.
The enemy, who threatens and discourages us… will come to an end.
The pain and discord of the world… will end.
There is hope. One day, He will say, “That is enough.”
Buoyed through the waters of difficulties is to be kept afloat by Him as the weight of the world threatens to drown us. “In Me you may have peace.”
I am buoyed by His nearness
I am buoyed by hope.
No words to speak
A friend recently shared with me that for a month she could not speak. She had no words that anyone could hear. It was terrible. Through the waters of fear and doubt she quickly found her Father could hear her. He was near. He could hear her voice, her precious voice, even when no one else could. She found herself buoyed through these difficult waters by her Father. He was near.
I still don’t know exactly always what to say to these friends and family. I can say, “take heart,” but not in a trite or glib way. I don’t think that is how Jesus said it. He was familiar with pain, suffering, rejection and soon death. The death of the world was heaped on Him. I do dwell on His words, for I know I can’t stay afloat on my own for too long. As the waves come, I ask and pray I would remember these things: take heart with Him by my side and with His hope for my future.