I live on the east coast of the Australian continent and for most of my life have lived within minutes of the sea. I've seen and experienced the wrath of the ocean. I understand the worth of a safe harbour and strong break-wall. For two centuries or more, europeans seafarers have sought refuge when the unrelenting storms of the Pacific rolled in, and where no natural stronghold existed, man-made defences were erected.
Without a break-wall, disaster is only a storm away.
Yet far more formidable than the angry Pacific, the enemy of my soul strikes against me in wave after wave of attack, seeking to break me and draw me into the depths of despair.
I need a break-wall for the soul, a safe harbour to shelter from the swell, a cleft to weather the storm.
So as the waves rise, and the wind whips around me, I turn here:
Jude 1:1 (ESV) – Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ
Jude writes to a generation in his own time who are standing against the onslaught of the enemy, and he writes to my sojourning soul as I walk the narrow way. As he opens his address, he stands and beckons, calling his hearers to a secure harbour, a three-fold interlocking break-wall behind which we find rest and hope.
When the storms of life threaten, know that it is no accident that you belong to Christ; you may have been on your knees, but you did not stumble into His grace. From before the foundations of the earth, you were known by God and called according to his purposes. A book was penned in ages past, a book known in the courts of heaven as 'The Lamb's Book of Life', and if you have seen Jesus as glorious and wonderful, it is because your name is found in those blood stained pages. God is faithfully at work in the gradual (but certain) work of your sanctification; he started this process in you at your new birth and he will certainly complete it. You have been called.
Not only were you called, but you are beloved. The Father of lights has not grudgingly allowed you into his presence; you are his treasured possession, a universal display of his glory and grace. He is the God who met you on the road after you spurned his love and rejected his reign, falling on your neck with kisses, establishing you as his child, welcoming you home into his family. You are called a co-heir with the eternal Son, the recipient of every spiritual blessing, a temple to our God in whom the Divine dwells. God does not tolerate you, he treasures you. You are beloved.
See the capstone lock into place; called and beloved, you are now kept. As storms buffet your soul, cling to the truth that your security is measured not in your ability to keep him, but rather in Christ's ability to keep you; that you are secure in the twice held grip of God. What Christ secured on your behalf, he will not let go. So sing with William Cowper, who faced innumerable savage storms, as he bows his head and worships as he writes:
God moves in a mysterious way
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
You are called. You are beloved. You are kept.
To the praise of His glory!