August 31, 2009
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. Psalm 69:1, 2
Most likely you read or heard last week’s tragic news out of Acadia National Park, when a 7-year-old died after she and several others were swept into the Atlantic by a huge wave. I can only imagine the terror of those people who suddenly found themselves in the churning ocean off Acadia’s rocky cliffs, and the heartache of the parents who lost their child.
This awful story reminded me of the account of Jesus and His disciples in a boat crossing the Lake of Galilee, when a wind whipped up the water while Jesus slept. “Don’t you care if we drown?” the disciples asked, waking Him up (Mark 4:37). “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” (Matthew 8:25).
When I read through the Gospel accounts of the incident, I noticed that Jesus’ first response wasn’t to do as they wanted and calm the sea—it was to ask them where their faith was. Only then did He quiet the wind and the water. I think if I were there, I probably would have said something like, “Yeah, sure, whatever—but can’t you see we’re in trouble here? Do something!”
Unfortunately, that’s usually what I do say to Him when I’m up to my neck in problems. I really don’t want to discuss my lack of trust—I want Jesus to fix everything, then we’ll talk. It’s a lot more comfortable to get back on dry land, so to speak, before I deal with how I got in this mess in the first place, much easier to analyze the situation after I’ve come through it.
But David gets it right in Psalm 69. He makes no bones about how miserable he is, tells God the terrible predicament he’s in, and asks him to help right now (v. 17). But he also acknowledges his folly and guilt, and concludes with praise for the Lord who has shown He answers the prayers of the needy (v. 33).
Like me, I know you have storms in your life. If they’re not raging now, they will be. Maybe they never seem to stop. I don’t have the secret to dealing with them any more than you do (and don’t believe a word of that book on the best-seller lists that claims there is one).
What I am certain of is that when I’m heading into rough water, it’s Jesus I want in the boat with me. And when He asks me to trust Him, I’ll try to remember to hand over the paddles.