A Risky Underwater Challenge
I once spent a week exploring the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The seaside ruins of Tulum, an ancient Mayan city, stand atop a cliff that juts out into the ocean. A local guide told me it was possible to swim under the cliffs from one side and come out the other. To accomplish the feat, I swam along underwater passageways in the direction of the opposite side. The sun provided light reflecting against the sandy ocean floor.
Along the way, breathing was made possible by swimming up against the rocky ceiling wherever an air bubble could be found and inhaling the air. The bubbles form when tidal action washes aerated water under the cliffs. Micro bubbles in the surge concentrate into one large bubble until they resemble big glass dinner plates clinging to the submerged rock ceiling. They were plentiful at first, along with good visibility.
As I swam further under the cliffs, the light grew dim and the bubbles scarce. There soon came a point where I could not see the next bubble from the position of the current one. At one stretch these air pockets were so few and far between, I wondered whether my lungs held enough oxygen to return to the previous pocket if I could not locate the next one. My initial objective of reaching the other side had suddenly morphed into the shorter-term goal of just finding another bubble. Continuing along the course required faith that there would indeed be another one.
Choosing to swim the bubble route was my own questionable decision, but when it comes to traveling the road of life, we are not asked our preference. It is a journey we all must experience.
The bubbles in our lives are times of safety and security, periods of calm and clarity where we recognize God is in control. We pray those times would last. But in the same manner in which the bubble air is used up and forces us to move on, circumstances in life come about to move us out of our comfort zone and propel us along life’s way.
God bless you if your bubbles are abundant, but expect to encounter stretches of turmoil and turbidity, maybe even times of endangerment and exposure in which life’s trials can appear overwhelming. For some, these intervals seem to have no end in sight, but the constant to remember is that through every adversity, God cares and is still in control. He already knows the troubles we will go through and He supplies us the means to endure them:
”These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
Peace in the midst of trouble — this is Jesus’ promise to us. Our part is to have the faith to continue, knowing our God hands us the final victory. An important addition to this promise is found in the 6th Chapter of Matthew:
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV)
If we partner with God, He will provide. We find both peace and provision from the God who promises never to leave us or forsake us — especially when the going gets tough.
When life happens, you may ask “why?” But if you persevere in faith, God is faithful to see you through. Whatever season of life you are in or problem that is overwhelming you, it is vital to know that God hasn’t abandoned you. The God who loves you and keeps you will always provide a next bubble, the best one being on that day when you swim out into His glorious Sonlight on the other side.
Through The Bible Devotions
2 Samuel 15:19-21 19The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness be with you.” 21But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.”
Absalom returned his father’s mercy with a coup. David got wind of the revolt and fled with those who were loyal to him. David knew it would be tough, so in the generosity of his spirit, he told the foreigner, Ittai, to stay. Ittai had only recently come to Jerusalem as an exile from his own land.
Instead of taking the easy way out, Ittai chose the tough road with David. Ittai’s response shows that David’s good spirit must have won his heart. Ittai was probably exiled because of his political savvy and not going along with those who led his own country. He could see David was an honest and sincere king. He chose to stay by David’s side regardless of the cost.
It doesn’t take long to develop strong friendships if you are a genuinely loving person. The world is looking for sincere people who will be honest, people who will risk their position to be kind. This is how we influence people with the Gospel. They see our sincerity, align themselves with us, and we get to tell them why we live like we do. In time our God becomes their choice.
Consider: Our lives must flow from sincere hearts before people will respond to us like Ittai did to David.
Streams in the Desert – June 6
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Go not, my friend, into the dangerous world without prayer. You kneel down at night to pray, drowsiness weighs down your eyelids; a hard day’s work is a kind of excuse, and you shorten your prayer, and resign yourself softly to repose. The morning breaks; and it may be you rise late, and so your early devotions are not done, or are done with irregular haste.
No watching unto prayer! Wakefulness once more omitted; and now is that reparable?
We solemnly believe not.
There has been that done which cannot be undone. You have given up your prayer, and you will suffer for it.
Temptation is before you, and you are not ready to meet it. There is a guilty feeling on the soul, and you linger at a distance from God. It is no marvel if that day in which you suffer drowsiness to interfere with prayer be a day in which you shrink from duty.
Moments of prayer intruded on by sloth cannot be made up. We may get experience, but we cannot get back the rich freshness and strength which were wrapped up in those moments.
-–Frederick W. Robertson
If Jesus, the strong Son of God, felt it necessary to rise before the breaking of the day to pour out His heart to God in prayer, how much more ought you to pray unto Him who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and who has promised all things necessary for our good.
What Jesus gathered into His life from His prayers we can never know; but this we do know, that the prayerless life is a powerless life. A prayerless life may be a noisy life, and fuss around a great deal; but such a life is far removed from Him who, by day and night, prayed to God.
The report of the spies
By: Charles Spurgeon
“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.” Numbers 13:32 and 14:6-7
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 2:17-24
Every unguarded word you use, every inconsistent act, puts a slur on Christ. The world, you know, does not find fault with you—they lay it all to your Master. If you make a slip tomorrow, they will not say, “That is John Smith’s human nature;” they will say, “That is John Smith’s religion.” They know better, but they will be sure to say it; they will be sure to put all the mischief at the door of Christ. Now, if you could bear the blame yourself you might bear it manfully; but do not allow Christ to bear the blame—do not suffer his reputation to be tarnished—do not permit his banner to be trampled in the dust. Then there is another consideration. You must remember, if you do wrong, the world will be quite sure to notice you. The world carries two bags: in the bag at the back they put all the Christian’s virtues—in the bag in front they put all our mistakes and sins. They never think of looking at the virtues of holy men; all the courage of martyrs, all the fidelity of confessors, and all the holiness of saints, is nothing to them; but our iniquities are ever before them. Please do recollect, that wherever you are, as a Christian, the eyes of the world are upon you; the Argus eyes of an evil generation follow you everywhere. If a church is blind the world is not. It is a common proverb, “As sound asleep as a church,” and a very true one, for most churches are sound asleep; but it would be a great falsehood if anyone were to say, “As sound asleep as the world,” for the world is never asleep. Sleeping is left to the church. And remember, too, that the world always wears magnifying glasses to look at Christians’ faults.
For meditation: Like Mary our souls and words may magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46), but does any area of our lives allow the unbelieving world to magnify our sins instead?