An Ode to the One Who is Not a Wave

little-cliffs


Oh rock! immovable by the surf, immutable in the froth of change,

As I, ocean inconstant, wavering, digressing, mulling again and again, chase up and down the shore.

You glisten and glow in the dawn, undaunted by my surf, a range

Of immaculate, solid goodness, refuge to wind-tossed kites, lonely gulls’ moor,

While I, restless surface, marred goodness, toss and strain in an endless race for the sand.

 

Oh moon! drawer of my unseen depths, quickener of all my hidden things,

Wresting me in whirling tides out of stagnation–serene, wild, terrible pull.

Grace irresistible, hold unbreakable, patient hounding of all my vagrant ways,

Bring me at last to the haven, to rest, to sand-sodden home, to artful

Reflection of your dear, down-cast face, clearest copy of your beam.

 

Deepest one! a floor to my rushings, undergirder of all my stablished ways,

Erupter of steam, holder of secrets, haven to creation’s abyssal dark, conceiving the trapped-up glow

Of fire-mountains beneath my tracks; in you, my surest foundation, yawning mysteries stay

Forever deep and holy in the uncharted, unfathomed places of your beauty. I know

My own depths are upheld by your strength; your unbounded chasm is my rest.

 

Dear one! you who are not a wave, this ode proclaims your unwavering traits:

Rock to my vacillating, moon to my torpor, floor to my flood–

You my border, my crown, my surrounding. Yet, you also fill me, permeate

My every atom, warm my waters with the heat of joy; what is this wonder?

That on every side you are greater, higher, deeper: yet still you love.


 

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.”

– Psalm 139:17-18, NASB –

Stormy Mornings

waves-ocean

Smooth-sailing life doesn’t drift me closer to God, not usually.

It’s those thunderstorms that crackle uncertainty into my plans that set me to clinging.

I once wrote in my journal that it isn’t the dark and stormy nights that bother me so much. That dusk is natural—expected rhythm.

It’s the mornings that dawn dark and stormy that rattle me so badly.

It’s those Galilee storms that swell out of serenity and suddenly flood me.

God sometimes parts my perspective’s thick curtain and allows me to see that another is hurting.

Sometimes another’s vulnerability startles me and I wonder how I can stand when my foundation seems to shift like angry surf. How can I speak when my words have such power of life and death?

In the waves, I can only stand when I see the Master walking beside me, firm though the waters rush about Him.

I can only stand when I believe in His power to hold me up.

While reading through Hosea with my family, a few verses caught my heart:

“I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms;

But they did not know that I healed them.

I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love,

And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.

I stooped and fed them.”

 – Hosea 11: 3-4, NKJV –

In this sea-gusting life, my Father holds my hands and teaches me to walk in the storm. “I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms…”

Even when the day breaks cloudy and thunder complains, yet He draws me with his gentle cords, with His bands of love.

Even when this earth-yoke presses heavy, He is the One who takes the yoke from my neck—and replaces it with one both easy and light.

When my heart is sore and soul-hungry from fighting the current’s deadly pull, He stoops down and holds out His hand, like He did on Galilee to a fisherman floundering in unbelief.

Lyrics of the song “Who Am I” by the group Casting Crowns remind me:

“Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin would look on me with love and watch me rise again? Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea would call out through the rain and calm the storm in me? Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.”

The wind still whips in my face, but now it feels almost invigorating. The waves foam, cresting and eddying around my feet.

And yet I stand, because of who You are.

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

– Psalm 107:23-31, NKJV –