I get to go to the beach next week. I get to sit and read books. And maybe once in awhile I’ll get up and go for a walk. And when I’m not doing that, I’ll just sit and watch the waves go in and out along the shore. Once a year we take that kind of vacation — the kind where you just stop and take the time to think.
I always enjoy watching how different the beach looks throughout the day. Sometimes the waves are pounding on the rocks and the beach is narrow and close. Other times the rocks are exposed, clicking and dripping with starfish, anemones, and mussels, with the beach broad and white.
During the course of a day, as the tides come in and go out, it can look like the big rock has moved. In the afternoon it has the waves around it; by evening it’s standing alone in the sand.
But the rock hasn’t moved.
Our emotions, like our eyes, can deceive us. When we’re going through a difficult trial or feeling overwhelmed, or suffering deep loss, it’s easy to feel like God has moved away from us.
Samuel Rutherford, a 16th century Scottish pastor, understood that feeling. He wrote,
“Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your rock is Christ, and it is not the rock that ebbs and flows but the sea.”
We will never be separated from God’s love, no matter how much it may feel like He has withdrawn His love in our affliction. As the tides of our emotions and feelings go back and forth, Jesus stays the same.
He is the rock. God sent Him to die for us. That love will never change.
I remember a trip to Victoria with my parents when I was young. We were watching over the deck rail of the ferry, waiting for our little voyage to commence. I was trembling with excitement.
The commotion below us finally quieted, and suddenly the dock was moving! I couldn’t believe it! I hurried to ask my father what was happening.
He smiled and pointed out, much to my embarrassment, that we were the ones who were moving.
When we’re tempted, as we go through trials, to think that God is moving away from us, or that He doesn’t really love us, or that He has turned His back on us, we need to remember two things:
- God did turn His back on His Son, as Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.
- And because of that, He will never turn His back on us.
God doesn’t move away from us in our trials. He’s right there, waiting for us to turn around, teaching us to run to Him.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).(Photo by Peter Mahar)