God, help me to rise above despair.
To stay afloat
With my back to its gloomy bog
And my face lifted high;
I have always been a decent swimmer, which probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up near the ocean.
Swimming in the Atlantic was not easy. Its forceful waves and rigorous currents presented many aquatic challenges, especially for a child. However, since I was the only girl, I was not about to let my brothers outdo me. Rather than buckle, I allowed the strong waves and my competitive spirit to make me a better a swimmer.
I do recall at least two frightening experiences, though. One was a time when a particularly strong wave smashed into me unawares, taking me under and pinning me to the ocean floor for longer than was comfortable.
The other was the time I encountered a small riptide. Fortunately, my dad had prepared us by instructing about how to swim out of one. However, the forceful pull happened so fast that by the time I realized it, I was already in water over my head, further away from shore.
Strategies for Staying Afloat in the Ocean
Following my dad’s instructions, I swam perpendicular to the current and broke free from its insidious grip. Because I had so far to swim back to land, though, I tired quickly. To conserve energy, I alternated swimming with floating on my back, a survival strategy when struggling to stay afloat.
I never felt afraid of losing my life, but it was a wake up call about the dangers of open sea swimming.
At times, the storms in life can make us feel like we won’t make it. Very often, they ravish our hope and bring despair. They require similar strategies for survival.
Strategies for Staying Above Despair
Like a riptide, devastating circumstances can come upon us suddenly, making us feel as though we are being pulled apart at the seams. With their onslaught, they make life seem as though it is catapulting out of control.
Rather than succumb under the pressure, we can instead allow the Lord to lead us in a direction opposite the raging torrent. With His help, our spirits can rise upward, perpendicular to the current. In His presence, no more will the hurtful tide overwhelm.
Since the difficult problems of life do not always subside as quickly as they arrive, it is easy to grow weary. To conserve energy, these are perfect opportunities for turning over and floating on your back, so to speak. Of letting go of all the worries and frustrations, and staying afloat by fixing your eyes on Christ and resting in His embrace.
Remember. God is always there to help you navigate the tide and equip you to stay above despair. Through Him, we are not just survivors; we are over-comers. He can even lift us up to walk on water!
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.“
This version of Oceans is different from what I have heard on the radio. By a male artist, Hillsong United ‘Zion’
© Sue Nash/2014