The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas

The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas
We are all like sea shells tossed about in rough waters and being re-shaped in wondrous ways. But have you ever contemplated the notion that sea shells have to complete their journey through the rough waters before they get to rest on the shore? Yeah, we are ALL like sea shells and Heaven is The Great Shore.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Strongholds, Life-storms & God: A Correlation

Greetings Everybody,
This blog entry is dedicated to one of my new blog-friends who is dealing with some upcoming Life-storms.  
Her name doesn't matter, she knows who she is.
I hope this blesses you and brings you courage.

So...Ok...Let's talk about Strongholds and Life-storms, and God.

The word Stronghold appears in scripture more than once, but let's start out with a verse from the book of Nahum.
" The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him" Nahum 1:7

Now I am aware that there are people all over the world who may be reading this lesson, so let me make sure that they have a good understanding of the word Stronghold before I go any further. They might need a working definition to really understand where I am going .

So here ya go, as per

stronghold  is a noun that has 2 meanings.
1. (Military / Fortifications) a defensible place; fortress
2. a major centre or area of predominance
[from strong + hold1 (in the archaic sense: a fortified place)]

Now let's apply those words to something that we can understand a little bit better.
Let's take a look at a stronghold that I personally have been inside.
Castillo de San Marcos. Construction started in 1672. It is in St. Augustine, Florida and it was a stronghold /fortress designed to protect and defend the town from attacking ships.  Tourists can walk on the roof and view the antique cannon positioned there.
                                   aerial photo found at 

Just like the definition states, a stronghold is a place of safety...but it is also a place that by definition was able to both protect AND defend. 

Strongholds were not designed to be mobile. 
They were built solid, stationary, and strong. 
The stronghold didn't go to the people, the people went to the stronghold.

And there were three kinds of people who came to the stronghold: 
1. Those who needed protection.
2. Those who served to defend the stronghold and those within it's walls.
3. Those attacking the stronghold and seeking to destroy all within it's walls.

There are strongholds located all over the world.
Some ancient.
Some modern.

They were and still ARE built in areas considered to be vital for security, protection, and defense. 

In the days of old, people knew that when enemies attacked, the best place in the world to be was INSIDE that fortress.

Soldiers and Peasants alike knew to get inside the stronghold when times of trouble came.

It was simultaneously their place of safety and of strength.

When enemies were on the march, or advancing in approaching ships, everybody who was able, would run with all of their might, to get inside the stronghold before those giant doors were closed. 

And they would remain inside the stronghold until the time of trouble was over. 

Now history reveals that over the years many strongholds eventually fell to the enemy.

They were man-made and as such were subject to flaws. 

They used a trial and error system in building them.

They learned from the mistakes of others.

Sometimes those in the stronghold would perish because they put their faith in these structures built by men.

But there is a stronghold that is impenetrable 
And that stronghold is GOD himself.

Consider David of the old testament.
Over the course of his life, he was a shepherd, and a warrior, and he was a king.

He knew a thing or two about military wisdom, and he knew what a stronghold was.

And he called God his stronghold.
"He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me." Psalms 144: 3

But pay close attention to the very next verse because here David expresses the awe of knowing that GOD actually knows him.  David was astonished that God, the creator of EVERYTHING, was HIS STRONGHOLD, and that God actually KNEW him.
"O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?" Psalms 144: 4

If you will allow a very loose paraphrase, to me, those two verses come across like this : "God, you are so big and I am so small, yet you KNOW me and my needs. I trust you and know that you will protect me and bring me to victory. And BTW this whole concept of YOU, the creator of Heaven and Earth, knowing ME, a shepherd-boy- turned-king just kind of blows my mind."  

Pretty Cool Huh!

When we stack the words of Nahum & David, we get strong precedence in calling God our Stronghold.

Nahum 1:7 " The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him" 

Psalms 144:3-4 "He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?" 

And now let's bring this discussion into the New Testament and discuss Jesus for a minute.

But before we do, let me just say that from here on out you will sometimes see me refer to God as our Stronghold and other times see me refer to Jesus as our Stronghold. 

I don't want to confuse anybody so let me just take a minute and say that I believe that Jesus is a part of God and God is a part of Jesus. 

And here's the scripture that serves as the basis for this belief.
These are the words of Jesus...
"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." John 14:11

Ok...that having been hopefully cleared up, let's keep going.

Do you remember the story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee?

"Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” 

Matthew 8:23-27

I submit to you that there is a great correlation between the weather-based storm that Jesus stilled and the life-storms that we go through today.

We often hear people talk about waves of troubles crashing over them.

We often hear people saying that they fear that they will be overcome by their hardships.

I think that if we examine Life-storms, using the paradigm of the Real Storm that was happening in the story of Jesus calming the sea, we can glean some pearls of wisdom to apply to our lives today.

Let's take the story in the order that things occurred, step by step:

First, He (Jesus) was in the boat with several guys and was sleeping during a raging storm. (lol Apparently he was  QUITE UNAFRAID.)

Second, the guys in the boat woke Him up, and were crying out for help from Him. (Clearly they WERE afraid.)

Third, He spoke to the guys in the boat: 

A.  commenting about their little faith and
B.  asking WHY they were afraid.
This is really kind of a huge thing. 
-Did they Under estimate Jesus' Power? 
-Did they Over estimate the power of the storm? 
-Did they do both? 
-Or was it that they didn't KNOW HIM well enough to totally TRUST Him?

Fourth, He stood up.

Fifth, He spoke to the winds and the waves.
(He interacted with The OCEAN and The WIND.
These are two HUGE and POWERFUL forces here on Earth.
And at His Command...both the ocean and the wind lost all of their fury.)

Sixth, it got completely calm.

Seventh, the guys were astonished.

Now I think I am safe in saying that the guys in the boat, reached out to Jesus, their Stronghold, and that their Stronghold protected and defended them.

Pearl of Wisdom #1
-I am thinking that I do NOT have a problem that is more powerful than the combined forces of ocean and wind.

Pearl of Wisdom #2
-And if Jesus can control both of THOSE things...every thing else must be pretty much within his "scope and sequence" too.

Pearl of Wisdom #3
-If I have Faith in my Stronghold, I too can "Sleep In the Boat" regardless of the raging life-storms. 

So lets bring this all together now:
-Life-storms are inevitable.
-They brew up and come at us full force all the time.
-Man-made strongholds are useless against Life-storms.
-The only real Stronghold is God and His Son,Jesus Christ.
-But we have to be IN The Stronghold to get the protection.
-We must come to KNOW the power of our Stronghold.
-Our Stronghold Already Knows Us .
-We can Totally Trust Him. 

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 
Isaiah 41:10

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

Fear Not!
In Him,

1 comment:

Christine said...

This post brings me such comfort.
I am going to meditate on 2 Timothy 1:7 all today.