Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7
I could list affliction after affliction that has hit my family over the last year. A tidal wave of turmoil and heartaches has pounded relentlessly. Some where visible to the public eye, some where not. Some I shared with others, some are locked in the treasury of my own heart. If we have lived long enough, most would remember a season “at sea”. Where the waves of pain and heartache have been overwhelming. As I pondered over the past few months,something was deeper than any pain-Gods presence. What I have learned is that the deep pain of suffering is meant to cause us to dive into the deep presence of God. Deep calls to deep. Pain ushers in more pain. Suffering brings more suffering. Trials breed trials and deep affliction brings deep fellowship. Suffering can escort us into the presence of God or it can drown us in despair. And the choice is completely our own. It’s in the deepest waters where we experience the depth of Gods faithfulness. The deeper we descend the greater the mercies. The mightier the waves, the mightier His love. The darker the storm, the brighter His promises.
The natural response of man to the threats of turmoil, is to focus within. To become laden with the responsibility to save ourselves, we gasp for air, arms failing, eyes searching for something to grab. When true salvation lies beneath. Down below the waves. The self focused, dare not look below, that’s what scares us the most; the deep. The deep seems to be our enemy, it threatens us with darkness, it’s seems to be after us to devour our lives. All the while that is where calm lives. The storm on the surface doesn’t penetrate the deep. A picture is worth a thousand words, or so I’ve heard. Look at the featured image attached to this blog. This picture was taken from the depth of the ocean during a fierce and deadly storm. From that perspective everything seems calm. The storm has lost its bite. Light even penetrates through the raging waves and slices the darkness of the deep. This is where we belong, in the deep soaking in the Light not battling for our lives on the surface.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever saves his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Luke 9:23-24
To dive below will cost us our lives but the irony is that’s where true life is found.Life is found in the deep not on the surface.
I read an illustration about the posture of diving. As we dive below the fierce hammering of the waves, our hands come to a horizontal position, and for just a moment our body makes the shape of a cross. A cross;Take up your cross daily and follow me…Follow me to the deep…Follow me to calm….Follow me to life. But first, our life must be cruciform; the cruxifixction of self. A cross shaped life, a cross centered mind. Without it we can not get to the depths of the struggle, we will drown in the shallows of self. Life begins at the cross. When we struggle for the surface, that’s when we drown, the waves beating us relentlessly . As we dive through the depths with arm stretched out in cruciform shape, thats where we experience the calm of the deep.
We’re trying to make it out alive, that’s our first mistake- the deep calls for us to lay down our lives and dive into true life. A life without the hindrance of self consumption, a life free from the burden of worry and the weight of fear. How many woes a man will face in one lifetime, yet how many actually dive to the depths of the struggle, to the place of love, comfort, and mercy? How many joyfully enter the fellowship of Christ?
So many of us are exhausted from the struggle. As we stop trying to figure it all out and dive into the true meaning of the struggle, a deeper awareness and experience with your God will be awakened within you. Calm and solace will wash over your soul despite the harsh storm around you. As we struggle for survival, trying to beat the fierce waves of affliction, we can end up missing it, missing the opportunity to experience the depth of God. For some will be afflicted more than others. We are all tried differently. I read this treasure this week: Shallow trials bring shallow grace. The author wasn’t measuring Gods grace but what he was doing is measuring trials. And the more trials you go through the more grace you receive. So Maybe instead of cursed you are indeed graced; Graced with the opportunity to know Christ more intimately, graced with the knowledge of Gods faithfulness. We will never truly appreciate the heart of God without afflictions.
Trust. That’s what it takes to dive below the proud waves of affliction to reach the calm and rest of the depth of Gods presence. To trust the providence of God, the sovereign reign of Jehovah Jireh even as the waves beat you relentlessly. The amount that we are willing to trust God in the midst of the chaotic waves will determine how much we get out of our suffering. Clinched fists and a scattered resolve will drown us quicker than any turbulent circumstances.
Some go through horrendous times of trials and persecutions and still remain gentle and loving, their faith stronger at every crash of the waves on their back. Then others will become loaded down with questions as their faith wains and their heart hardens. They seem ok on the surface but deep within they are drowning. I believe asking questions is not wrong- but when we have been asking the same question after getting the same response, often times it is because somewhere along the way we have started to question God instead of the circumstances. Never focus your eyes on the question. Focus them on the Deliverer, for he is the answer to all our questions. The struggle is His …”your breakers and waves have swept over me…”.The waves are summoned by God to sweep us to the deep; to His presence.
So as the breakers pound against your mind and the waves threaten to drown your faith-dive deep. Dive into the mercies of God.
When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. Psalm 77:16