It seemed that everything was turning a corner. Life was smoother. Attitudes were softer. Personalities were loving and kind, even considerate. Hugs came on a regular basis and sweet compliments flowed like honey. Who could ask for more right?
If you have spent time praying for a loved one who has been shut off or harsh, this change would seem like a welcome sight, especially when it took so many prayers and studying God's Word to get your own heart responding to the struggle in a Godly manner.
The popular quotation from C.H. Spurgeon, "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages," is one you can relate to when you are pushing through difficult relationships. Learning to not just accept but appreciate the difficulty that drives you to desperately rely on Christ is not easy but what about when the waves die down.
What about when there is just a gentle rocking of the water that lulls you into a relaxed state? Just as it seems that you have gotten to a place where your personal struggle is gaining victory, you find yourself floating along with no struggle at all.
Or do you?
Once upon a time, I would pray for God to soften a person's heart so that they were easier to deal with but then God allowed it to happen. That is when wisdom showed me that this is a struggle that is actually just as hard as the driving waves.
You think I am crazy, don't you? And you are probably correct but not about this matter.
When you deal with a person who is harsh, unloving, or just plain hateful to Christianity, it is easy to remember to pray and rely upon God. You know to hold tight to Truth because you realize that there is nothing in you that can help the situation. It is also no difficult matter to keep in mind their true need for Christ and in whom to seek your satisfaction and joy.
But flip this scenario over. What if you have someone who is loving and sweet and compassionate, but not walking with Christ? Sure, it is less complicated to love them but you do it from a different motivation. Falling into the trap of being satisfied in what they are providing you emotionally and even physically, makes you lose focus of their real need. Once you lose that, you quickly forget to rely on God for wisdom in dealing with this person. When that happens, there is only a short step to neglecting to pray because you forget that you both need it. The wave that threw you against the Rock of Ages is now quietly and sweetly drifting you out to sea without you realizing it.
As challenging as it is, you have to remember that knowing Jesus is the ultimate goal for a person whether kind or hard-hearted. The necessity of keeping your focus becomes clear when a person slips from their sweetness and is having a bad day. They fall short of the unrealistic expectation you have put on them and act in a way that is hurtful. You become painfully aware that you have forgotten how to kiss the wave or why you even needed to in the first place.
We must maintain a diligence in prayer and seeking God in the face of the good, bad, or ugly. In this way, we truly love others because they are not weighed down by our expectations and they see an inexplicable, consistent love that is not tied to our wants or circumstances.
Don't let ease or happiness make you complacent. Stay diligent and focus on the eternal. And when the wave dies down, remember that it will be necessary for you to swim against the gently rolling water to the Rock before you drift too far.