They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 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. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and 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. [Psalm 107:23-30]
I have always found this passage to be one of such haunting, poetic beauty. I imagine the Psalmist on a little hillside overlooking a busy port. On the docks he can see and hear the hustle and bustle of the workers, unloading precious cargo from faraway lands and loading their own goods to send across the vast waters. Out in the harbor is a ship, sails unfurling, bough pointed towards the distant horizon, venturesome men resting themselves in the mighty hand of providence, praying for favorable winds and weather.
But they who live by the sea may die by the sea.
Storms arise unexpectedly. Gale winds may surge unpredictably, rocking their boat, threatening their very existence. That’s when even the most hardened sailor feels the urge to pray…for mercy, for grace, for safe passage.
And here we have come, you and I, whether by land or sea, to do business in the great waters of uncertainty. Sometimes our little vessels are all but capsized. We, too, “reel to and fro” and find ourselves at “wit’s end.” Is it then, is it only “then” that we cry unto the Lord? Only in our trouble?
We cry to Him then like a thousand times before and he “maketh the storm a calm.” For awhile we are glad because we are quiet. But how soon will we forget? How long will it be until we call His name again? Another storm? Another near miss?
We often remind people that the God of the good times is the God of the bad times too, the God of the mountain is also God in the valley. I come to remind you, Christian sailor, that the God of the storm is also God of the calm. He doesn’t abandon you in either case.
Don’t forget Him.
A Prayer for Today: “Father, I thank You that You have never minded my crying to You for help. You have always patiently listened and provided the help and comfort and hope I needed. Forgive me the times I take You for granted. The sunny, peaceful days I will remember You too…and pause to give You praise. Amen.”