Walk His Way Revisited
First posted in July, 2014
“Save me, Oh God! For the waters have come up to my neck (or “soul”). I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.” Psalm 69:1-3
My family often spent Saturdays on the beaches of Southern California when I was a child. Mom packed our woven picnic basket full of sandwiches, chips, pickles, and grapes, and brought a thermos of Koolaid to drink. We’d load up our towels and a big red plaid blanket to sit on while we ate. We had buckets and garden trowels for digging, and wore our swimsuits under our clothes until we arrived. Sunscreen was unheard of, but we did use Coppertone suntan lotion on our noses and shoulders. (Perhaps you remember the tanned little Coppertone girl in the advertisement where the puppy was tugging on her bathing suit as if to pull it off. On the big billboards along the highways, the puppy actually moved up and down, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it, fearing what would happen if one time that pup was successful!
We played at the edge of the water, and as we grew older we were allowed to go in up to our chest. But I always got knocked down by the waves and pulled under by the currents, and that is what I most remember about those beach visits. I always experienced such panic and fear, with rough sand surging around me, hair swirling, sounds oddly muffled with my head underwater, not knowing which way was up so that I could get out and get another breath, or which way was down so I could plant my feet firmly and stand up. Every single time, I thought I was going to die. (But it didn’t stop me from going out again.)
Life feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it? Some bad news comes our way, and we’re under wave after wave of troubles. We feel like we are being pressed upon, our breath knocked out of us, thoughts tumbling, feet in sticky mud that threatens to grab hold and not let go. We don’t know which way is up; we’re drowning.
In these times, we need to remember that God has set boundaries for the waters, and they cannot leave the place He has determined. “…The waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth” (Psalm 104:6-9). No matter how deep are the waters of our tribulation, God will not allow them to completely overtake us, for the waters are only allowed to go just so far, and no farther, in our lives. At His rebuke, the waters must flee.
“He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters.” 2 Samuel 22:17
Father, we know You have power over the waves and waters of tribulation. Help us trust You, knowing that, although we are pressed upon, You will not allow us to drown.