Swimming Upstream

Do you ever feel like you’re swimming upstream, against the current? You feel like no matter how hard you swim, no matter how much you try to stroke in perfect strokes, you can’t seem to get anywhere – or at least as far as you would like. You feel stuck, but you’re not. For as soon as you stop trying to swim against the tide, you find yourself going backward. Your strokes should be moving you ahead, and you find yourself exhausted going the wrong way. If you feel like you are swimming upstream, I have a word for you.

If you are a believer in, and a follower of, Jesus Christ, you are swimming upstream. You will swim against the current. And you will find yourself moving backwards unless you keep moving ahead – in pursuit of the Lord. You will not only swim against the current. You will find countless people, and situations, and circumstances, and opportunities, and much more, that will encourage you to give in to the current. And you will find that no matter how hard you to try to swim against the current, and how desperately you want to make headway to get to where you are going, you won’t make it. You won’t make much progress anyway.

Not so encouraging, eh? But true. And let me tell you why. Because if you have done as I have done far too often, if you try to swim against the current in your own strength, you will surely not make it. For it is only in your weakness that you will discover your strength. And when you discover your strength to swim against the tide of life, the tide of the world, the tide of the world’s ways, the tide of what the flesh longs to do, the tide of what Satan entices you to, the tide of sin, you will realize that your strength is not your strength at all. It is His.

For when the Lord calls us to swim upstream, against the current of life in pursuit of His life and His will, He equips us to do it. He perfects His love in us, He perfects His strength in us, He gives us His power, His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness, His instructions, His Truth, yes, His Word, and His glory to shine through us as we make our way upstream while the world goes the other way.

I have found myself swimming downstream far too many times in my life. And I have found myself swimming upstream – exhausted, discouraged, dismayed, disgruntled, disappointed, and angry because I can’t seem to make any progress. Sometimes I have given up swimming, and been sucked backwards with the current of those going the wrong way. I have allowed my flesh to prevail. I have allowed Satan to have victory in a particular battle. Or, I have simply become too exhausted for the next stroke against the tide. Other times, I have kept on pursuing Christ – ever weary, ever run down – the price of trying to swim against the tide of life in my own strength.

And then, there have been those most precious times when I have simply rested in Him – trusting Him to carry me as He teaches me, and continually equips me, to swim against the tide of the world. It is then I am reminded that His strength truly is perfected in my weakness. His love truly is perfected in me. And the reward of continuing against the current of the world’s ways is greater than imaginable.

He certainly is. The greatest reward of all. Jesus the Christ.

7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Cor. 12 7-10 KJV

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