Remember the story of Jesus walking on water? There was more to it than just that one part. In the story, told in Mark:6:45-52, Mark makes it clear that Jesus told His disciples to get into the boat and row across the sea. They obeyed and because of their obedience, they were caught in a mighty wind and strained to row, making no progress. They were rowing against the wind. All of this because they obeyed!
But here's the beautiful part! Mark 6:48 says, “He saw them straining”. Jesus saw their struggles, and “He came to them”. He came to their rescue. He purposely put the disciples in a difficult position knowing they were going to need Him to rescue them. He purposely put the disciples in a difficult position knowing He would then have the opportunity to glorify Himself by walking on the water!
James 1:2-4 (NIV): “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 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 anything.”
Sometimes we may feel like we're rowing against the wind because as Christians we are in the world but not of the world. Some of us have made the choice to not drink or smoke. Some women do not wear jewelry or make-up. Some women choose never to cut their hair, and some have chosen to dress modestly or cover their heads. Those in the world may not understand these decisions, but they are all choices. Life is all about choices, What's right for me may not be right for you and that's OK. No one should condemn another because of his or her choice. We all have to decide what is right for us.
Sometimes, simply being a Christian and being obedient to what we feel the the Lord is calling us to do will make us row against the wind of the world. Sometimes our obedience will put us in a tough spot. God will do that on purpose because He has something He wants to teach us or because He wants to glorify Himself.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV): “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Sometimes it's hard to do what we feel the Lord is asking us to do. It would be easier to follow the crowd. However, in the end obedience and faith have the greater reward. He sees us straining and He comes to us. He has put us in this place, but He never leaves us alone. He sees and He knows. He loves, protects and guides. If God tells you to, go ahead row against the wind.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”–Colossians 3:23 -24 (NIV)