On being adrift

If I am honest, it has been a rough couple of weeks.

You know the ones. Day after day, it seems like nothing goes right. You buy a car, only to send it into the mechanic the very next day. You finally get your syllabi for the upcoming semester only to find out you have a test on the first day. Then you go on vacation to hide from it all, and discover that someone has stolen your debit card information and is buying gas for all of their friends somewhere in New York.

Needless to say, I have seen better days.

What is more, to my shame, I did not respond well to my circumstances. Over the past two weeks, as I was hit from every side, I shelled up and got frustrated. Life got out of order, work piled up, and priorities slipped out of place.

That was the real problem.

As my priorities dissolved, so did my affections, and before I knew it, I was far from God.  Like a timber from a shipwreck, I slowly drifted out into the deep waters by myself, and an interesting phenomenon happens when we push out into that ocean by ourselves.

We begin to think we are alone.

It is clearly not true. As a matter of fact, it is a lie from hell that tells us we drifted out into that ocean by ourselves and that we have to make it back on our own. And last week, I took the bait.

Before I knew what happened, I was frantically running from task to task trying to pull my life back together, and I was failing every step of the way. I stayed busy but got nothing accomplished. I focused on insignificant responsibilities and dropped life’s essentials. Assuming I had to be efficient with my time, I would spend hours trying to figure out little problems at work, and would overlook ministry. I would pass by opportunities to serve others as I scrambled to put a band-aid on the next problem.  Furthermore, as I rolled up my sleeves to try and paddle myself back to shore, I neglected my one true salvation. My time with God shriveled up into nothing more than passing glances at his word and brief nods in prayer.

Essentially, I stopped worshipping my creator.

I crashed. And the results of that crash were not pretty. The joy drained out of my life and was replaced with defeat. Sins I had once conquered reared their ugly head, and I struggled and fell. I was unable to move. No amount of paddling would bring me back to the shore. The harder I tried the more furious the waves beat me back out into the deep waters.

But that all changed yesterday.

Yesterday, the soft voice of the gospel spoke into my life once again. It reminded me that my sanctification is not conditional. Just as God justified me and made a guilty man innocent, he is sanctifying me and making a dirty man clean.

For the believer, it is God himself that gives strength to legs unable to move. I am powerless to stand, and my best attempts at paddling back to shore when I have gone adrift are nothing more than insignificant flailing. But my God is faithful to his promises, and his word gives the steadfast promise that since he began a work in me, he will see it through to its end.

I cannot paddle back to shore, but, as sure as night turns to day, God will carry me along by the winds of his great grace.

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