by Andrew Carruthers
Heb 6:19 "We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul."
To outside observers CJ Hobgood is living the dream. A professional surfer, family man and one time world champion. However, if we peel back the public veneer, we find an all to familiar story.
C.J. ... "I was in France and I had to go do the QS… I was in debt up to my ears, we'd just moved into this crazy big house; and I was doing really bad on tour. The relationship with my ex-wife wasn't good and if I didn't re-qualify I was going to have trouble paying off my debt."
The pressures of life creep; even into the idealised world of pro surfing. Pro surfers are just ordinary people who have an extra ordinary talent in one area of their life, (surfing). This does not make them immune to the pressures of life. Their lives are full of highs and lows just like the rest of us.
C.J. ... "I was in France and my wife at the time called and said, 'I'm moving out of the house and its not going to work.'"
God doesn't save us from the ups and downs of life. We don't become Christians and from that point on everything is sweet for us. God isn't some celestial santa clause who rains down good times and good waves for his crew of followers. What does change is how we can react to difficult situations when they do arrive. Paul puts it this way...
2 Cor 4:7-9 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
What is this treasure that Paul speaks of? It is peace and assurance in God; imparted into our heart through grace and faith. This is the sure and steadfast anchor to our soul. When life seems adrift and the squalls of circumstance assail our vessel we can hold fast with peace and assurance.
C.J. ... "At that moment I was broken and it was a low point but... it just made me calm down more you know. I was just glad that I had a God who loved me and I love Jesus."
We can confidently endure knowing that God is with us in the boat, he is in the fiery furnace and the lions den. In fact it is in these moments of affliction and hardship that we find him for real. In the hard and risky moments of life when we are weak, He is strong.
C.J. ... "The best feeling in surfing for me is just... being in the ocean and probably just feeling alive. Sometimes the closer you are to risky stuff or to dying the more you feel alive."
"So I'm re-married and the first year of our marriage I get kicked off tour... It was one of those moments... It was a low point, but I was still like thankful. I was enjoying the process. There was days and months that I cried and stuff; but I still had a sense that through the process I would get out the other side and the truth of it all would set me free... that all would be OK. It's kind of hard to describe, my low points they sucked... but there was peace in there."
Finding God in the storm is a life changing moment. Realising that He is sufficient and sovereign in all of life's circumstances brings true peace and true strength. Not strength in self assurance but strength in assurance in God.
Dream lives are just that, dreams... God wants us to live real lives, lives that contain mountaintops and valleys. Lives that trust in him to rule and reign in and over all that life can throw at us.
This is how we affix ourselves to the anchor for our souls, by trusting in him and thanking him for the good and the hard situations. Otherwise we are adrift, in the sea of emotions and feelings, rather than set on a foundation of peace and assurance in God.
1 Cor 3:11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."