I have always loved the water. I love being around it, on it, in it, beneath it (for a reasonable time, of course). There has never been a period in my life that I can’t remember spending lots of time at the river or on Chesapeake Bay, or a creek, or the ocean, stream, lake or pond. My mother told me I was too young to remember my first encounter with a stinging nettle. That’s a good thing, but I do remember many later encounters with those miserable creatures. I even took a SCUBA course in college, looking for an easy credit or two (that one backfired; I forget about diving physics)! One water highlight was a snorkeling trip in the Caribbean. The beauty of colorful tropical fish and plants below the surface was breathtaking, and I could have stayed there for hours on end. Being on or near water can be peaceful, restful, calming and invigorating.
But, as with most everything in life, there’s more to the story. Nor’easters and other storms, hurricanes and a variety of natural turbulence can cause bodies of water to be terrifying and sometimes lethal. The Bible records unsettling water events involving Jonah, as he did his own thing by disobeying God’s call, Jesus and his disciples, as they frequently sailed on the unpredictable Sea of Galilee and Paul the prisoner, as he sailed to Rome, barely escaped with his life after a horrific 14-day storm on the Adriatic Sea. Beautiful in good times, horrible in bad times – that’s the nature of bodies of water.
Don’t you agree that our lives are somewhat like that - great when things are smooth, peaceful and prosperous. But not so much when things “go south,” and we experience hard times, dramatic change and unpredictable events. Old Testament King Jehoshaphat, when told that the enemy had surrounded his troops with huge armies, ended a beautiful prayer by saying, “ . . . For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
2 Chronicles 20:12. Read the rest of Chapter 20 to see what happens.
I believe it’s so important for us to keep the king’s words in mind as we travel through the stormy, uncharted waters of our time in history. It’s true that we don’t know what to do, but let us always keep our eyes on, and our confidence and trust in, the ONE who does.
Jesus encouraged his first century followers then, and us now, with these words. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33