When I was in college, I helped lead a sailing trip into the Bahamas. I will never forget sailing away from land into the vast, unknown ocean in the middle of the night. It was exciting and yet extremely eerie. In particular, I remember watching the depth finder readings as we passed into deeper waters. The numbers slowly ticked deeper and deeper down until all at once they completely dropped off. I looked over at the captain. “Did the depth finder just break?” I asked.
Nope. We had just crossed over an ocean trench. Gulp.
That was a strange feeling. Dark waters. Literally unfathomable depths. No land in sight. Us in a wee, little boat. I gripped the boat a little tighter.
Oceans have long had this effect. They fascinate and intimidate us. There is a recognition the oceans contain a power we cannot control. The oceans shipwreck the biggest vessels. They churn with energy and tidal waves. They cannot be conquered. They have only partially been explored. The oceans contain a vast array of creatures, some the largest on earth. So when you stand on the beach overlooking the ocean, a sense of awe will no doubt strike you.
The oceans consistently represent chaos in literature. Most famously, In Moby Dick, Melville always pits the chaotic waters against the comfort of land, home and hearthside. Modern film often uses the ocean to strike fear in our hearts. And even the writers of the Bible recognize the uncontrollable force that is the ocean. Genesis connects the oceans with the chaos of pre-creation. In the Exodus and early history of Israel, the seas swallow up and destroy their enemies.
Baptism likewise employs water as a metaphor for death.
So that’s the ocean, but here is our God…
To the uncontrollable raging waters, Jesus says peace, be still, and they are still. And the disciples tremble in fear because someone just commanded the uncommandable. The oceans obey the word of the Lord.
To his people God says:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…”
This is our God, he who commands the deeps. He who walks on the waters. He who parts the seas. He who calms the tempest. He who makes dry, level paths through chaotic oceans. This is our God.
The song featured above, which I hope you will enjoy, sings out of this belief. It declares when oceans rise, we will rest in God. Why? Because he has shown himself higher and stronger than any ocean.
So I don’t know what you’re facing today. But I know you walk with the one who commands the unknown, who quiets the raging seas, who finds lost castaways, who sees the deepest and darkest places. He will find you. He will rescue. And He will command the rising tide around you. The waves will not overwhelm you. He will part the waters.
Hold out hope. He is coming.