From Cowering to Comforting

//February 16, 2022//

⁃ From Cowering to Comfort –

Trials, trauma, and suffering have strange effects on the mind, body, and soul. It’s a little like when I was younger and our family would go to the beach. We had our favorite destination and would play in the waves for hours everyday. Trouble would only arise when I’d turn my back on the waves. Sometimes, I’d only be a few steps away from the shore, with my back to the ocean, and a wave would come and smack me on the back and knock me over. Before I knew it, I would be l rolling head over feet, not knowing which way was up and running out of oxygen from being underwater so long. I’d open my eyes only to see specks of dirt, dark water, and the immediate sting of the salt water. Spinning out of control, I knew I was done and ready to “swim with the fishes”. Then, for a brief moment of peace, the water would stop its machine wash chaos and let me go. The moment I’d catch a small breath, another wave would come and knock me under again. The cycle would continue. And then again. Until finally I was able to drag myself onto the beach, throw myself on my back waterlogged, and away from the onslaught of killer waves. The little transparent crabs would run into their holes and peak out to see the giant gasping for air. The panic and surprise attack from the ocean would leave me breathless and in a stupor for hours.

I wish I could say this only happened to me once or twice. Nope, this was a normal occurrence at our favorite beach. I always wondered what it looked like from the comfort of the sand? Did it look as traumatic as it felt? What’s sad is that my parents never came to rescue me!! 😂 Maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked?

Sometimes, it the middle of the chaos of waves, we can only focus and imagine imminent danger and death. “Life is over because of this wave,” we tell ourselves. We panic, flail, get tossed on our heads, gasp for air, get hit again, and give up. What’s really bad is that we were not even looking for a day at the beach to enjoy, we were just minding our own business and out of nowhere a massive wave turns our world upside down.

I was reading in Isaiah and a specific phrase stuck out to me. The Israelites, the chosen nation of God, were getting hit by wave after wave as a result of their disobedience to God. The book of Isaiah tells of God’s redemption plan from the cycle of trauma. I thought verse 21 of chapter 51 was a great description of what happens to us when we are caught off guard by the turmoil life can bring:

“But now listen to this, you afflicted ones who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine.” Isaiah 51:21

Isn’t that what happens when we are surprised by the afflictions of life? We sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine. We sit stunned, silenced, in disbelief. We know life brings trouble. We know life has big waves. We know chaos is just around the corner. But, for some reason, we are always surprised when it hits.

In the verses prior this this, the prophet Isaiah is calling everyone to wake up! He is trying to get people to see the waves for what they are. He is trying to get them (and now us), to see the bigger picture of God’s plan.

Look at this:

“For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Isaiah 51:15

Hmm, He causes the waves to roar? Ok, so when trouble comes, and trials loom like a curled wave over our lives, it’s God’s handiwork?

“And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, ‘You are my people!’”” Isaiah 51:16

Does He have a plan for the wave? Will He reveal Himself as a protector and refuge in the middle of an oppressive wave? Apparently so.

“But now listen to this, you afflicted ones who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine. This is what the Sovereign Lord, your God and Defender, says: “See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury. Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors, those who said, ‘We will trample you into the dust and walk on your backs.’”” Isaiah 51:21-23

That’s pretty strong language for anything that will rise against someone in the middle of a storm. God, throughout Isaiah is calling His people to wake up and see that He is in control. The wake up to the comfort from His presence. To wake up to the comfort of His strong power. To wake up to the comfort of His track record.

As I would lay on the beach, panting from the ordeal in the waves, something would eventually call me back out to them. How could this be? I was just tossed about and stretched to my limits! I lost my breath, thought the ocean floor was the sky, and burned my hands and feet scraping them against the sand. Why would I want to go back out again?

It’s perspective, growth, and adrenaline. It’s power, mastery, and learning. Each time I’d be tossed by a wave, I would learn for next time. Each time I lost my footing, I’d gain knowledge for the next time. Each time I lost control and was upside down, I figured out how to navigate the roar of the ocean. It’s knowing that everything will be ok. It’s knowing that I can learn, mature, improve, tackle, and conquer the waves.

Our tendency though is to cower in defeat. Our inclination is to avoid the waves. We don’t like the chaos and uncertainty of being tossed around. We don’t like what it does to our peace and comfort. We don’t like the questions that our soul cries out when a wave knocks the wind out of our spiritual sail. We don’t like the hit our faith takes when we act poorly or say hateful words while fighting a wave.

Waves reveal our heart. They reveal our weaknesses. They reveal our inner struggles. Most of us avoid that kind of exposure. We don’t want to face our inner shadow.

Here’s what I would tell you from my experience.

Life is a day on the beach. There is fun, sun, waves, sand, shells, wildlife, and plenty of danger. You can go into knowing that you’ll probably get smacked around, stung by a jellyfish, chaffed by the sand, burned by the sun, and worn out by the adventure. But, each time, you figure out how to navigate the adventure and trust in the wave Maker.

You can’t avoid the waves. No matter how hard you try, no matter how much money or success you have, no matter your family, vocation, lot in life, or positive thoughts – you will be tossed by some waves. God uses the waves for our good. He draws us close and protects us even while being shook.

We can face the waves head on. Instead of cowering and turning our backs on the waves, we can face them, embrace them, get through them, and harness them. This brings strength, endurance, trust, and confidence.

No matter what surprises life throws your way, you can be comforted by the knowledge that all will work for your good. All will shape you into the person you were meant to be. All will help you turn and help others.

From Cowering to Comfort

When your mind is afflicted – share your struggles with someone.

When you body is afflicted – rest and recover.

When your soul is afflicted – cry out to the Father. He will comfort.

When you are afflicted – get up again and face the wave head on.

Ray Rhoton




9 thoughts on “From Cowering to Comforting

  1. Thank you for this reminder! This is so beautifully explained and exactly what my soul needed today. I don’t know you guys personally, but am a friend of a friend. I pray for you all and your battle while my sweet 18 year old daughter fights for the 2nd time. God is using your journey to help me with ours. You are both so inspirational! By the way I listen to Steve cuss and am a member of capable life so I can’t wait to listen to your podcast with him! Praying w/ out ceasing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I Love This! I am currently 2 years into treatment for Ovarian Cancer Stage IIIc/IVa. Perspective is everything! I am staring it straight in the face and watching how God is moving and allowing me to encourage others on this cancer journey. I understand it will be a lifetime fight for me, but that does not scare me at all. I live each day as if cancer is in the rear view mirror and look for ways God has blessed me and try to bless others as we continue this journey we call LIFE!!


  3. Wow! What a beautiful picture you paint of our Father. What a wonderful Father He is. You don’t know me, I work with Arthur.
    Since he told me your story,, I’ve been moved to pray. I go to the Father daily interceding for you. Remember Moses, when he grew weary holding his hands up? Read this devotional…

    I’m lifting my hands, for you, in prayer! Until He releases me, you are in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

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