Salt Water, Sea Foam, and Streams in the Desert
“Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.” – Psalm 42:7
Below are three personal observations after reading L.B. Cowman’s “Streams in the Desert.” Admittedly, my wording has been highly influenced by Cowman, and so I want to give credit where credit is due. Undoubtedly, life is filled with storms. Yet the Lord lovingly charts our course, and will permit seasons of choppy waters. With this in mind, let us ponder three truths about the traveling through the seas of life.
To begin with, the waves on the ocean of life are the Lord’s doing. Whether God divides, stirs, or stills the waters of our life, it is His doing. In our passage above, the Psalmist describes the raging waters of life as the Lord’s waters. The Psalmist writes, “Your waterfalls” “Your breakers” and “Your waves.” This means life’s turbulent waters belong to Him, and by His providential care He floods our lives with whatever He chooses. Whether the waves are hushed and still or smothering us with salt, spray and foam, remember that they are His waves. It is easy to feel strangled and choked by the seaweed floating in oceans of life, but we must remember God created the seaweed which surrounds us.
Secondly, it is easy to get disillusioned while on the sea of life. While floating in midst of life’s seas, there are no land markers to guide you. It is easy to lose our sense of direction. Sadly, God does not pop the water with a chalk line to know which way to go. But even when there is no obvious path at sea, when there is no shoreline in the distance, God is ever-present. He will never leave us or forsake us. Just as a sailor will use the sun as a guide while sailing a monotonous ocean, we must follow the follow the Son of God as we sail the seas of life.
Finally, God never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing. Do you remember when the Lord calmed the storm at sea? Before the disciples ever boarded the boat, Jesus promised them they would make it to the other side of the lake (Mark 4:35, Luke 8:22). And, they made it to the other side. The boat had even stayed intact during the storm. Yet when the apostle Paul faced a similar storm, the outcome was quite different. In order to survive the raging storm, he had to hold on to floating debris. In his moment of distress, splintery pieces of shattered wood became his lifeline. Unlike the disciples’ story, he did not have the comfort of his boat holding together. Instead, he was handed the comfort of splinters, cuts and bruises. Yet he still made it to the shore. And so whether God chooses to deliver you in your moment of distress by boat or by boat debris, just remember that He never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing.
God will not always deliver you in our hour of distress in some grandiose fashion. And sometimes all we can do to survive is cling to the floating debris surrounding us (Acts 27:44). Yet, through all the trials and tribulations, God’s presence and providence were still constants in the life of the dear Apostle Paul and his crew. God might not choose the manner of deliverance that we desire, but He knows what is best for us and always has our best interest in mind.
So when the salt water of life seems to sting and the seam foam of life’s turbulent waters seem to suffocate, remember these truths. I know that I have barely tipped my paddle into to vast waters on the subject of the storms of life. But I pray I have been an encouragement to your heart.
– Pastor Eric