When you’re hanging by a thread, remember who holds the spool

Dr. James Dobson is known for saying, “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are suffering and those who will suffer.”

None of us are immune. The floor will drop out from underneath us at some point; not because God isn’t there or doesn’t care, and not because we haven’t been good enough. Christians and non-Christians alike are subject to the consequences of living in a fallen world. 

Solomon said: “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. Drought also comes to both. Believers lose their homes to hurricanes and their health to cancer alongside unbelievers. Dementia doesn’t discriminate. 

From time to time we find ourselves being the one in the position no one wants to be in; being the one with the stack of problems that seem bigger than one person or even a family can possibly attempt to deal with, let alone overcome. 

The Bible doesn’t tell us God won’t give us more than we can handle. Instead, God gives us account after account of people in situations that no one could handle and account after account of God rescuing and walking with his people during that time. 

Recently, my Sunday school class went through the account of Jesus walking on the sea. We read the account from Matthew 14, Mark 6, and John 6. By putting the accounts together, we were able to see the big picture. 

Jesus sent the disciples on their way across the lake, while he went up the mountain to pray. During the night he saw the disciples straining at the oars (miraculously as they were in the middle of the lake, approximately 3.5 miles away at the time). They had been struggling since evening. These grown men rowed four, five, but maybe even six or seven hours. 

That’s when Jesus walked to them. After the incident with Peter walking on the water, then sinking and being rescued, Jesus got into the boat; and they immediately reached shore. 

This isn’t just a cute story about something Jesus did once upon a time. 

God sees us struggling in the storms of life. When we’re helpless, he comes to us and gets in the boat with us. We may not reach the shore immediately as the disciples did that day, but we won’t be fighting the waves alone. We will be in the boat with the One who controls the waves and can keep us upright even while the storm is raging. 

So if today you’re hanging by a thread, just remember who holds the spool. And if you’re in the middle of smooth sailing, pray for your struggling friends or hop in the boat with them and take the oars for an hour or two. 

We all struggle with life now and then. But we don’t struggle alone. God is either watching from shore or walking to us on the water or already in the boat. Don’t fight him, and don’t miss him. Cling to him. He’s there. 

 

Amber Albee Swenson is a writer, speaker, and blogger. Her husband and four children keep life exciting and give her lots to write and pray about. Mother, wife, and author are treasured positions, but child of God is her identity.

 

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