Psalm 42:5-7 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? . . . Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.”
Job 42:8-11 “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, . . . and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?”
God has chosen to use metaphors to teach us spiritual truth. One of the metaphors He has used to describe difficult and overwhelming times in our lives is that of the waves of the sea. He likens life’s troubles to pounding waves of the sea washing over a person time after time. Life can be overwhelming like that, at times, and the turmoil of the crashing waves of the sea is a very good picture to describe it.
Most of us have been there, or perhaps you are there right now. Perhaps you are in the midst of a very difficult time and it’s not just been one thing, but one thing after another that has come into your life in waves. Thankfully, God extends His metaphors to not just describe what difficult times are like, but to teach us where He is in such times.
No human being has control of the sea, and if there were no limits to its waves, if tsunamis were not the exception but the norm, the seashore would not be a very popular place. God tells us that He alone controls the sea. He has set limits for its waves. He can stir up the sea and He can quiet it with a word as Jesus showed us when he said “Peace, be still.” Even the wind and the waves obey Him.
So, what about the crashing waves of the difficulties that can come into our lives. Does God control those waves as well? Absolutely! Even THOSE waves and those winds obey Him. God has given us many examples of this in His Word. The story of Job is one example where we see God allowing great suffering in His life – great waves of calamity – yet He limited those waves, and eventually, in the end, restored Job’s life and all that he’d lost. The psalmist who penned the words of Psalm 42 above, is another example. Later in that same Psalm he says “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”
We may not like the waves that wash over us, but the fact is, they exist, just as the waves of the ocean exist. Yet, we can have hope that just as there is One who controls the waves in the mighty ocean, the same God controls the waves that crash into each individual’s life. He alone knows what is best for us, and He knows when to say – “this far, and no farther!” He often works through the trials, the crosses, the waves of life, to work out His purposes in our lives and in the lives of others around us. The prime example is the cross of Jesus. And He has promised us that “for those who love God all things (including and often, especially, the “waves”) work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”
May God help us to continually trust in the One whom even the wind and the waves obey.