Have you ever seen a small child jump from a dock into her father’s arms in the water? Surrounded by buffeting waves and a cacophony of chattering people, the little girl is laser-focused on the outstretched arms of her smiling dad. Unafraid, she lunges full-bodied, hurtling toward those arms with the full confidence that they will not fail. Even if that little girl gets a nose full of briny water, she has no doubt that her daddy will keep her close and hold her above the waves.
Oh, for faith to trust God more in the midst of life’s buffeting waves. Because we live in a world steeped in sin, we will undoubtedly encounter trials. The question is, do we reach for God during trials, or do we try to construct our own rickety rafts to attempt to conquer the swells of life?
Proverbs 24:16 says that “the righteous falls seven times and rises again.” Seven instances of skinned knees. Several failures and missteps. Seven kinds of life interruptions. The difference between the righteous and the wicked according to this proverb is simple: the righteous person keeps reaching for the arms of the Father when times get rough. God pulls the righteous up and through.
Trouble and trial are guaranteed in this world. Jesus puts it most succinctly in John 16:33: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Too often we associate trial with disobedience or bad decision-making. But like Job, who suffered though he was blameless before God, and especially like Jesus, who did not sin but still experienced humiliation and unjust murder, we should expect suffering to wend its way into our lives, just because.
Our souls would be dismayed and despairing at this reality if it weren’t for the strong arms of the Father, who holds us up above the waves in several ways.
First, He gave us Jesus, who is interceding for us. He is our advocate and our covering. We can rest assured that through Christ, we will not be overcome by the world. First John 2:1–2 says, “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” In Christ, we never again have to worry about being overcome by the world.
Second, time is finite, but eternity is infinite. In Christ, we can rest assured that whatever trials we face in this life have an expiration date. Paul explains it this way, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18).
When we trust in the Lord and live lives yielded to Him, our souls are free from the weight of injustice, selfishness, and gluttony. We don’t have to wait for eternity to benefit from trusting God. We live in freedom and without guilt because we know the power of the loving arms of the Father, ever ready to bear us up out of the waves. That soul health is priceless.