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Devotions from Patricia Greene

Last year, someone shared the following quote with me by Charles Spurgeon, a 19th century Baptist preacher.  It is a quote that resonated with me at the time and one that I have found meaningful multiple times since then.  I share it with you now: I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.

Many times in our life, it is as though we are caught in the middle of a stormy sea with waves battering us from every side.  Some days, some weeks, some years are just like that.  And it is easy to look at those “waves” in frustration, confusion and even anger as we long for a calm sea and an easy journey.  Those waves can be incredibly hard, anxiety-ridden and chaotic.   

I am not one to hold fast to the mantra “everything happens for a reason,” nor am I one to offer the cliché “something good will come from this.”  While I do believe that often something good will come from difficult situations, I find this phrase can, at times, do more harm than good to the person who is hurting. 

Given all this, however, I still find comfort and wisdom in Spurgeon’s words, and I don’t hear them as making light of the situation.  While the waves can seem terrifying and dangerous, often it is those very waves that can draw us closer to the God who first created us and promised never to leave us.  When I can see the waves from that vantage point, they can become in their own difficult, challenging way, a kind of blessing.  And for that, I thank God. 

God is my mighty rock, my refuge. — Psalm 62:7b

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Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I am utterly convinced that one of our greatest responsibilities on this earth is to offer love and be love to other people.  This passage in 1 Corinthians is likely a familiar one to many of you.  It is a scripture that is frequently spoken at weddings, but the love spoken of here is far more expansive than simply a challenge to spouses.    

Love isn’t always easy.  In fact, it can be downright hard.  Genuine love can mean opening our minds and hearts in ways we previously have not allowed ourselves to be stretched.  Love has the power to reach past divisions, break down barriers, see through pain, and extend grace and mercy in tangible ways. 

Some people are easier to love than others, and on some days it’s easier to show compassion than on others.  But keep on; keep on trying to love; keep on believing that you can make a difference by showing compassion to others; keep on, because God’s love can shine through you in truly amazing ways.  Keep on loving God and others.  It is perhaps the highest calling we have in this world.  And in the meantime, I also pray that you feel genuine love surrounding and uplifting you.

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