Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking for anything.
James 1:3 & 4
I closed my eyes and pulled a long, deep breath in through my nose and held it, listening as the echo of my heart beat a steady rhythm in my ears. I filled my jaws with the air and blew it slowly through my teeth. Grasping my neck at the shoulders I pressed and pulled at my muscle. The tension caused my back to ache.
My knees sank into the sand as the foamy waves of the ocean rushed across me, pulling grit and shell mixture from beneath my legs. The ache of exhaustion tugged at my mind, weighing heavy on my thoughts. Water dripped from my chin and the taste of salt made me ill. I fell forward into the wash, elbows burrowing into the beach, my fingers slowly sinking below the surface. I stretched, pulling my buried legs free.
Over my shoulder the Father stood, bare foot in the water, the tail of His robe swaying with the roll of the waves. He motioned me to come, yet He never took a step toward me.
“I’m trying to stand!” I shouted.
“I’ll wait,” the Father said, “No where else to go but here.”
I squinted my eyes and swiped the salty taste from my lips. “I could use some help.”
“Yes, you could, but what good would it do for me to lift you from the sand? It’s just sand.”
“You sayin’ You pick and choose when to help me?”
“No. I’m saying I help you when you really need it. This is just sand, it moves with every sweep of the ocean. Persevere. I’ll be right here.”
How many times have we felt that the Father ignores us or refuses to help? Countless, would be my guess. He promises to be there, to help us, to save us, but I can’t get Him to walk ten steps and lift me out of the sand. “Why, God? Why?”
“I’ve never failed you. Persevere. Get up. Come to me.” He said.
I lifted my body from the water, staggering toward Him, His hands extended. When I reached Him, I fell into His grasp. The Father slipped His arm around my waist pulling me to my feet. That’s when I learned what perseverance meant. It’s a long obedience in the same direction –that continual obedience that we must have even when it’s hard. When we persevere, He always grabs us before we fall. It’s up to us to reach. After all, it’s just sand.