Charles Spurgeon is credited with the following quote: â€œI have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the rock of ages.â€Â
I loved this quote so much that I started researching online to see where it came from. I sent it to my wife in a text message.
With love, she responded, â€œHoney, you know he didnâ€™t actually say this, right?â€
She was right. As I kept searching, I discovered he didnâ€™t say this.
However, the quote is a variation of something he did say during a sermon in 1974 called â€œSin and Grace.â€
Charles Spurgeon said this: â€œThe wave of temptation may even wash you higher up upon the Rock of Ages, so that you cling to it with a firmer grip than you have ever done before, and so again where sin abounds, grace will much more abound.â€
I think I like this quote even more.
If there is anything I have learned in the Christian life, the more I cling to and depend on God, the more I can deal with anything this world throws at me. Whether it be temptation or hardship, we can do anything through Christ, who strengthens us. By the way, in the Greek language, the words â€œtrial,â€ â€œtemptation,â€ and â€œtestingâ€ all come from the same root word: peirasmos. Any peirasmos we experience can be endured through Christ.
We have several pastors in our community who have been at their churches for 20 years or more. One of my jobs is to build relationships with pastors and church leaders in our community and encourage them. But these long-tenured pastors have taught me some great things about ministry.
The greatest life lesson they have taught me is this: personal holiness is much more important than â€œsuccessâ€ in ministry. But often, if you pursue holiness, it will bring success in ministry. Yes. Prayer, time in the word, time on our knees seeking the face of God. All of these things are more important than your success.
Now think about your life, friend. What can you endure? Do you truly depend on God? Have you learned to â€œkiss the wave?â€ Kissing the waves means you can endure whatever life throws you because you have great hope in God.
Paul said this: â€œNot that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.â€ (Philippians 4:11-12).
Many of us have never truly learned this lesson because we havenâ€™t been found in desperate times of long-lasting need. Our hardships come and go like the passing tide. But we should learn from men like Paul: shipwrecked, abandoned, often hungry and thirsty, homeless, and sometimes lacking in his need. He found that in whatever situation he was in if he learned to depend on God, he could make it through everything.
Itâ€™s the lesson James learned when he said, â€œCount it all joy when you encounter trials of various kinds.â€ Itâ€™s the lesson Hannah learned. While she was barren and infertile, she was still going up to the temple daily. She said, â€œI am a woman troubled in spirit. But I have been pouring out my soul before the Lordâ€ (1 Samuel 1:15).
Our trust and dependence on the Rock of Ages will allow us to kiss the waves that crash against us. This compelled Augustus Toplady, in 1776, to pen the words, â€œRock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in thee.â€
Caleb Duncan is the Director for the West Florida Baptist Association in Chipley and holds an M.A. in Ethics, Theology, and Culture from Southeastern Seminary. Email him at WfbaDom@outlook.com or follow his Twitter @calebtduncan.