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31 August 2010

Those Cursed Waves

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Lately, I’ve been brought back to Psalm 107 a number of times for the same conversation with God and others. What stands out is the image of the storm and the huge waves that cause people to lose their courage and stagger around like drunken men.

Have you ever been there? At your wits’ end, overwhelmed by fear, doubt or just a very large burden?

Imagine being Peter—the disciple who exemplified so well the “speak first, think later” attitude—who asked if he could get out of the boat and walk on the water to Jesus. (What was he thinking? “That looks so cool! I wanna try!”?) Then after Jesus gives him permission, he takes that leap of faith.

Can you imagine yourself in that situation flinging your body overboard and trusting that the water will not engulf you but will support your weight, contrary to the accepted laws of nature?

Now add a storm—darkness, wind…and waves.

If you’re a thrill seeker like Peter, maybe you just take off running like a little kid in the park. “Yeeehaaaw!” But what happens next is so like all of us. He catches a glimpse of the waves, those cursed waves. And they start to engulf him.

In our world today, the waves that surround us might come in the form of financial trouble, marital problems, challenges with our children, friends or colleagues who have hurt us, or our own foolish mistakes with consequences we must now face. These are the things that wake us up in the night and cause us to worry. Sometimes it may feel like we are going under, and we might not come back up.

Like the people in Psalm 107, Peter cries out to the Lord, and He saves him. I talked and prayed with one friend this week and had a great e-mail exchange with another about the storms they are facing, and I am challenged by this concept.

In the midst of the storm, can I be bold enough to ignore the waves and look to, reach for and cry out to the Lord for His protection? Can I be absolutely convinced that He will save me from the waves? It’s easy to say yes when the water isn’t slapping my face and soaking my clothes.

But when it’s my time to face the storm—and I will have a turn, I know—will I yield my concern for the waves in order to tuck in next to Jesus and receive the comfort and protection He offers?

Psalm 107:29–30 says, “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.”

I’ll leave you with these few thoughts:

1. In this world you will have trouble—the waves are coming.

2. Refuse to let the waves steal your joy—or overwhelm your attention.

3. Don’t wait until the calm to worship—to cry out to God, even in the midst of the storm.

4 thoughts on “Those Cursed Waves

  1. I have especially cherished this story of Peter since I became willing to admit that I am much more Peter, than I will ever be a Paul. I have asked God to help me to slow down. Think. Then speak. Ask any of my friends or family, and they will tell you that even tho I have gotten better in this area of my life; there is still a long way for me to go before I will be in total submission to God in this.
    The two things that I do claim and hold onto in this scripture is how as Peter stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus in the midst of a horrible storm- Jesus WAS ALREADY THERE and the storm, with its winds and crashing waves, were UNDER the feet of our Lord.
    When I experience a storm in my life, even when it seems as if it is just one storm lined up right after each other, I remember that my Saviour, Jesus, is already there in my storm, with all its winds and waves, under His control, just holding out his hand and waiting for me to get up and out of the boat to walk the water to Him.

  2. I remember a number of years ago constantly striving to experience a “trouble free” life. Difficulties would come and disappointment and despair would follow. Then, in a workshop I attended, someone shared, “Behind every cloud is a silver lining, but behind every silver lining comes another cloud.” This truth resonated in my spirit and lines up with Jesus’ words in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Let’s rejoice even in the midst of crashing waves, being confident that He is in control of the waves and has overcome the world!

  3. Thanks. That was a great reminder that the biggest waves are a tiny ripple for the One that created the ocean. He has our best interest in His heart.

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