Smoothing out my blanket on the cool sandy floor, I propped myself up against a gnarled piece of driftwood and settled into my newfound refuge. I sat a long time, drinking in the salty air and gazing out across the vast ocean to the distant horizon. The soothing cadence of the waves washed away my mind's distractions.


For weeks I had anticipated my coastal sojourn; I was finally there, alone on the deserted beach. I began unpacking the burden of my heart, laying it expectantly at the Lord's feet.     


I suffer from a chronic affliction involving profound fatigue and intense pain. My "malady," as I call it, brought us back home from the Russian mission field in 1994. I never imagined that I'd still be suffering from it 10 years later.


I've known, deep in my being, that the Lord is absolutely in control of my life's circumstances. But I'd reached a point of frustration and despair. I wondered if I would ever be well again, able to serve the Lord with the same vigor I had before.  Or was He calling me to a life of increasing limitation?


I wanted to accept the Lord's will and yet, I felt afraid. I knew the best place to find comfort and perspective was at the feet of Jesus and from His Word. I longed for consolation that morning, so I turned to the book of Psalms and began reading.


"In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;

Let me never be ashamed;

In Your righteousness deliver me.

Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;

Be my rock of strength,

A stronghold to save me." (Psalm 31:1-2)


For miles along the Oregon coast, just beyond the shoreline, massive rocks reach heavenward from the ocean floor providing a safe haven for everything from seagulls to starfish. No matter the severity of weather, the strength of the wind, or the force of the waves crashing continuously against these rock-towers, they remain steadfast.


In a much greater way the Lord God is my strength and protection. No matter how discouraging or desperate my circumstances, He is my Rock and He will not waver. I was encouraged as the Word reminded me of the Lord's willingness to stoop to listen to my little voice. Following the psalmist's example, I asked Him to incline His ear to me, to bend down and listen, and to set me free from my distress. As the sea breeze danced across the pages of my Bible, I continued reading: