I recently had the opportunity to go white-water rafting on a river in West Virginia. While riding through the roaring rapids of the river, I could not help but be struck by the power of the water. Sitting at the front of my raft, I met the huge, rolling waves head-on as they towered and crashed over me. All around me, foamy water swirled as the powerful current rushed dangerously. This experience brought to mind many Scripture passages about the power of the water and seas and prompted me to ponder the awesome power of the One of Whom it is said that, “the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:5). God “rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, [He] stillest them” (Psalm 89:9).
Psalm 107:23-31 describes the experience of those “that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters” and encounter the power of the stormy seas much as I was reminded of it a few weeks ago. When they “see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep,” who “commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof,” the magnitude and strength of the waves is enough to strike fear in the hearts of seasoned sailors: “They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. But when they acknowledge the One who created this great power and “cry unto the Lord in their trouble, he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.”
“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:31).
Not only should we see the power of God in the strength of the seas and be prompted to praise Him as the great Creator, but this truth contains a great comfort for the child of God. Not only has He created the stormy seas and given the swirling current its power, but He controls its seemingly uncontrollable depths. He has “placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof… roar, yet can they not pass over it” (Jeremiah 5:22). His is the voice “that even the winds and the sea obey” (Matthew 8:27). He is “the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared” (Isaiah 51: 15). That same sovereign God is our Father. We are His precious children, and He has promised to control all things for our good.
This is especially comforting when we encounter the storms of life. Often fears and troubles swirl about us like a foaming current, threatening to pull us under into the depths of despair, never to return to the surface. We can flail about with all our strength, trying to fight the waves and save ourselves, but we will find that we are weak and helpless. But when we cry to God, He will save us. His alone is the power to bring us through such trials and calm the stormy seas. He has the power to dry up the entire sea so we are once again standing on dry ground, or He may choose to part the waters and lead us through with towering walls of water looming over us. And sometimes it is His good pleasure to allow us to struggle in the storm for a time, but He will always be there, holding us up with His almighty hand, never permitting us to drown.
So whenever you are experiencing the stormy seas of life and you are tempted to despair, turn to the One who has placed those trials in your life. He alone is the Rock to whom you can turn. He is your refuge and strength.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof… The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:1-3,7).