Pondering the Ocean

I’ve been listening to and talking with many of my friends recently and it seems like we can all relate to “ocean seasons” in our lives.  With all of its vastness, mystery and beauty, life and our view of & relationship with God, can be so very overwhelming, much like the ocean.  Seems like the waves of challenge, pain, stretching, and strengthening come in so strong, so fierce and unrelenting.  Living day in and day out, we expect life to be a walk on the beach; comfortable, beautiful, wild, but only a very controlled and contained wildness, one that we expect and can predict the outcome thereof.  Oh, but how we limit our understanding of God’s power and our understanding of how He views us and the heights that we are capable of reaching in Him.

I mean, I totally get it though.  The ocean, like our walk with God can be so scary.  As soon as we venture out into the water–our relationship with God and all that it contains– and go in just deep enough, trusting God, just enough to call ourselves Christian and surrender just enough of our lives to say that He is Lord, the waves are stirred.  Often, they are manageable at first–transitions, losses, misunderstandings, challenges . . .  the waves that hit at the back of the knee and rock us forward.  We regain our footing knowing that we needn’t resist because there will be more waves and we want to conquer, we want to be successful and pass the test.

Seems like just as I dig my heels into the sand and prepare myself to stand against the next wave, it comes indeed, and takes me under.  And then comes another.  It’s as if wave after wave rushes over me, taking me down head first, swirling me around beneath the deep, dark blue and as soon as I scramble my way to the top, cough up all of the salty water from my lungs and nose, breathe enough air to confirm that I am still alive and this wave, much to my dismay, did not claim my life, I am pulled under again, stronger and longer than before.

God desires that I fully rely on Him.

I hear you Lord, sweet and strong, even as the waves roar and crash violently, I hear it loud:

1-4 But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.  Isaiah 43:1-4 (The Message, emphasis mine)

It’s my perspective checker, pleading with me to take these truths into my heart and mind, receive them, believe them and walk in them.  Walk in Him– in His strength and power, not in my own.  It’s a common theme, but I’ve got to grasp it.  Not my understanding but yours, Lord.  Not my way, but yours, not my will, but thine father God.  So I move a little farther out into the ocean even though my fears, and some of the people around me have told me that it would be wise to get out, do life my way, use my common sense.

No.

I’m following your spirit.

I’m going deeper.

And as soon as I trust you to take me deeper, farther, further, I discover that I am perfectly positioned so that the strength of the wave does not take me under.  I am deep enough and far enough out into faith that I have no other choice but to trust you.  The land is too far ahead of me and I cannot see the ocean floor beneath me.  I must trust.  And as soon as I do, I discover that what used to take me under only rocks me a bit now.

So I go deeper in you, at your leading.

And now, I can lie down and rest in you.  Do, as Lisa calls, a God float. I’ll move according to your spirit now.  I’ll no longer strive to control, but by your spirit I will have all the self control I need to just trust you and rest in you.  Here, in this place old truths feel like new all over again; yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13)

And I’ll go deeper still.

6-10We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

10-13The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way. (1 Corinthians 2:6-13, The Message, emphasis mine)

Can any of you relate to me on this?  Anybody having an ocean season out there?  If you’ve been through one and are coming out, share the beauty and glory of that deeper place in God with us!

Photo from windows2universe.org

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