Friday, April 24, 2009

Deep Calls to Deep

I love to body surf.  I grew up on the beach and had plenty of opportunity to practice, and I'm pretty good at catching a wave.  However, on occasion the wave would catch me.  Then down and round, and round and down you tumble in the wave, till you don't know which way is up until your face lands in the sand.  The power of a wave when you're in it's grip is awesome in the strongest sense of the word.  You realize who you are and what the wave is.  And sometimes that's how the power of God rolls over you.
"Deep calls to deep
     at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves 
     have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his
          steadfast love,
     and at night his song
          is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life."    ~ Psalm 42:7-8

The beauty of these verses has long haunted me, but it is only lately that I began to understand what the psalmist was saying.  There have been (indeed, are) occasions in my life when I've had no idea what is up, what is down, what is anything.  I only know that I am not (never were?) in control, and the best I can do is not swallow the mouthful of sand.  Or maybe I do.  But even as those waters break over me and I've lost all control of the situation, I'm not cut adrift.  I am indeed in the grip of God, and by day He commands that His steadfast love be with me, and by night He sings over me.  Therefore, I - and you - can have hope.

"Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God."  ~ Psalm 42:11b


Susan said...

"They that go down to the sea in ships and do business in great waters. These see the works of the LORD." Psalm 107: 23-24

Beyond the dwellers on the land these see the Lord's greatest works. Instead of the ocean proving to be a watery wilderness, it is full of God's creatures, and if we were to attempt to escape from his presence by flying to the uttermost parts of it, we should only rush into Jehovah's arms, and find ourselves in the very centre of his workshop. And his wonders in the deep. They see wonders in it and on it. It is in itself a wonder and it swarms with wonders. Seamen, because they have fewer objects around them, are more observant of those they have than landsmen are, and hence they are said to see the wonders in the deep. At the same time, the ocean really does contain many of the more striking of God's creatures, and it is the scene of many of the more tremendous of the physical phenomena by which the power and more majesty of the Lord are revealed among men. The chief wonders alluded to by the Psalmist are a sudden storm and the calm which follows it. All believers have not the same deep experience; but for wise ends, that they may do business for him, the Lord sends some of his saints to the sea of soul trouble, and there they see, as others do not, the wonders of divine grace. Sailing over the deeps of inward depravity, the waste waters of poverty, the billows of persecution, and the rough waves of temptation, they need God above all others, and they find him.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Ed said...

One of my favorite devotional books is "Broken Bread" by John Wright Follette. And, one of the best chapters is "Deep Calleth Unto Deep."

The real point of the chapter is that the deep of our need/pain calls out to the greater deep of His supply.

Here is a poem which he wrote, as preamble to that chapter:

Down in the depth of my nature
Where the issues of life are born,
From that unknown mystical realm,
Surviving through ages of storm,
A call is forever rising—
But its language I cannot speak.
It was born ere I had being,
’Tis the call of deep unto deep.
Our mother tongue here is awkward,
For no words can fully express
The needs in the depths of nature,
In bondage to sin and distress.
Our hearts in their depths sorely ache;
They hunger; they call; and they seek—
Then silently wait an answer
To the call of deep unto deep.
Down deep in the heart of our God,
In mystical regions sublime,
In the Godhead’s holy council
Long before our world or our time,
An answer was fully prepared
Every pain, every ache to meet,
In Christ, God’s only begotten,
Is answer to deep unto deep.
The Answer indeed was the Word,
The Word when expressed was the Son.
Oh language of God how profound!
In answer what more could be done?
The heart of our God is hungry,
His portion, His people to seek.
“I thirst,” was cried by the Answer—
’Tis the call of deep unto deep.
—John Wright Follette

Linda said...

Ed and Susan - Both of your comments mean more than I can say. This passage which has long drawn and haunted me, which has been a mist in my understanding, has revealed itself a little more in the passages you have shared. Thank you.