The first time my kids saw the ocean, they were awe struck and mesmerized. We had decided to take them to San Diego so they could go to a beach for the first time. I absolutely love the beach. It calls to me constantly. How I ended up in a desert is completely ironic, but that is where family and friends are, so dried and shriveled I will be. I have a unique love for the desert and it’s beauty and breathtaking sunsets, but more humid climates closer to the beach, are what I daydream about.
When our 3 kiddos crested the ridge that dropped down to the beach, and they caught their first vision of the sea in all of it’s glory, they couldn’t keep themselves from dropping everything and running for the water. Flip flops, towels, water bottles and sunglasses all hit the sand as their little legs ran full bore into the waves. They were about 9, 7, and 5 years old. They had no comprehension of the power of those waves. My oldest slowed down as he approached the water. I could see he had sudden realization that maybe he should approach this a bit more reserved. My son Alex approaches almost everything with enthusiasm and zest. He approached this situation the same way, and he didn’t slow down. He ran right into those deceivingly beautiful waves. Those waves sucked him under in a flash. They swirled him upside down and head over heals like a tornado. He was skidded underwater, given a sand rash, a seaweed wedgie, and spanked by the crest of the water. When he finally righted himself, he had terror in his eyes and he was running while coughing his water logged lungs out. He stood stunned and hacking, until his happy meal came spewing out. The timing of the waves, happily carried his happy meal contents away from his feet and back out into the ocean. Before my husband and I could catch up to him and what had happened in the last 20 seconds…we witnessed the inevitable. The waves now were carrying Alex’s unhappy meal, right back at him. It torrented over his feet while he screamed in disgusted horror at the oceans revenge. He had just been chewed up, spat out, and had his own puke tossed at him by an ocean that he had severely underestimated. The hilarity of the situation hit my husband and I both and we couldn’t stop laughing as we scooped him away from barf and waves and calmed him down. Our daughter Alli had just witnessed all of this and had seen her brother man handled by ocean waves and approached the water much more cautiously. Fortunately Alex was totally fine and never was in any real danger. We were close enough and much taller than he was and would have scooped him up quickly enough that he would have never been in danger of drowning.
This is a good parallel to life. Sometimes, we don’t realize the magnitude of the trial we face. We see something we think we can handle, we get excited, and we run at it with all the energy we have. Suddenly it hits us all at once, and we realize how naive we were to think we would handle this challenge easily on our own.
There is also an entirely different possibility. We are thrown into the deep. The ship of safety and security in our life is attacked, and our ship sinks and pulls us into an ocean that we didn’t have any intention of getting into. It’s in this moment that we understand the need for divine intervention and help. The ocean is a great reminder of how very small and powerless we really are. So many dangers lurk below the surface seeking to devour us like a shark. Fear and discouragement swirl around us when we get into situations that are way over our heads. Every wave of challenge threatens to steal our hope and peace. We fruitlessly tread with all of our might until we exhaust ourselves and feel we can’t keep going. This is the moment when we can remember that our Savior walks on water. He is the one who can keep our head above water, shield us from danger and strengthen us to keep treading.
God calls us out into this ocean of life. He has to take us to deep water sometimes. Deep water is where He demonstrates His power. He is faithful and proves it here. He can speak to us here, because our ears open to His aide when we are in desperation. He also has the power to either calm the waves, part the sea and make a way through it, or just calm our hearts and strengthen us to endure the waves.
There is a song that constantly speaks to me. It’s by Hillsong United, and it’s called, “Oceans, where feet may fail.” Please take a minute and listen.
We aren’t called to barely survive on earth. We are called to be conquerers through Him who loves us.
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When God calls us into the deep, His purpose is to hold us up, to help us face the challenge, to strengthen us for bigger waves and deeper waters. I think sometimes I forget that just because God called me to something, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. In fact, usually it’s way harder than anything I’d ever choose on my own and feels impossible. I’ve found miracles are miracles because something that was impossible was allowed to happen. It is in deep waters that Daniel was spared from the lions. It is here that David slayed Goliath. It is here that Moses was called to part the sea, and it is here that God called His own son Jesus, to conquer sin and death. Without facing insurmountable challenge, there is no need for miracles, or for faith to grow. In this deep water, He will get you through.
Deep water is not meant to be our demise. Deep water is meant for us to reach up to God for help.
I’ve found myself in deep water many times. Most of you know that my last 7 years have been deep water. I never thought I would feel this way, but if given the choice, I would choose this again. Yeah, even with the 20 surgeries, horrific pain, and times of desperation and discouragement. I don’t like having handicaps at all, but if this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have the relationship with God that I have now. I feel so thankful for the miracles and blessings and reassurance that I can look back on. It helps remind me that God never left me alone and has always been faithful in His promises. He isn’t going to let me down. I only worry that I will let Him down.
(To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David.) Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
14.Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
15.Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
16.Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
17.And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
18.Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
This week started off rough. Someone I know suffered a terrible tragedy. The type of senseless evil and tragedy that makes you wonder why God allows such things. It’s the type of trial that can only be described by a fiery trial. This particular family was thrown into the deep and they are riding tremendous waves. Fighting for their faith like it’s their next breath. I don’t pretend to understand this. I feel that some things can only be explained by the knowledge that this earth and the inhabitants of it, are subject to evil because the devil roams this earth seeking who he can devour. It infuriates me when he gets a hit in, but I know that no matter how hard he plays this game, God is going to kick his butt. He will lose. God will win. We all are in this fight, and we all face deep water of our own. We can’t ask, “why me?” Jesus was even subjected to the evil that roamed this earth. The question we have to ask is, “Why not me?” I am not special. I will not get off this planet without sustaining major wounds in this war.
I am dealing with my own personal struggles right now. I’m working through some stuff and I’m facing some health concerns. The stresses of many different challenges surround me, and I’m feeling it. I’m treading water, and asking God to help me face whatever waves may be coming, and I know He will.
1st Peter 4:12-19
12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18. And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
The beautiful truth we have to hang onto because our life depends on it, is the truth that we are promised that God will never leave us alone. Not even in trial.
1. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
- Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
I know God doesn’t leave us even in tragedy or trial or mourning. Sometimes He is quiet, but He is always there, riding the waves with us and keeping our head above water when we call out to Him.
In the words of a blue Disney fish…Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. What do we do? We swim swim…