There is something about rushing water that I can watch for hours and feel as I if I need to do nothing more. -Mark Helprin, In Sunlight and Shadow
I was at home on maternity leave with my third little girl, Eden. She was so fussy one day. SO. FUSSY. Like with real, what-we-call-in-the-south alligator tears. And this sleep-deprived mama was desperate for her to stop fussing. Is there such thing as sleep potion for babies? Kidding... kind of. I knew how my other girls liked to sleep to the Rain, Rain App since we did not have actual sound machines. The sound we would use for them was called "Rushing Waters." I have no idea why, but it worked. Most of the time. I don't know about you, but when I think of rushing waters, I do not think peaceful sleep.
I think about the rapids that flipped our canoes on a youth trip to Arkansas back in junior high. I think about ocean waves that suck you under, and you fear you won't be able to swim against them. I think about the river by my great-aunt's house that rushes dangerously by when they open the dam. Rushing waters feel like the deadly Tsunami that hit Thailand retold in the movie The Impossible. Rushing waters make me think of Lake Ponchartrain flooding the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Destroying everything and everyone in its path.
Rushing waters feel dangerous to me.
But my little Eden did not know that. She had no frame of reference like that to feel fear at the sound of rushing waters. In seconds of turning on the sound for her that day, literally (no dramatics here), Eden's face relaxed. The last tears rolled down her face and dried up. And she slept.
The sound of rushing waters calmed her. Something that felt so scary to me actually brought her peace.
I was dumbfounded.
How can something tumultuous bring peace? How can we feel this during chaos? During times of pain? During brokenness? Is that even possible?
Because when I am in them, it feels like the rushing waters sweep over me, take me under like they did Peter when he took his eyes off of Jesus. I just can't keep up with their strength over me. I do not have it in me.
Depression sinks. Anxiety paralyzes. Anger controls. Doubt wins. Brokenness breaks.
The bad news comes. Things just stay the same even though you desperately want them to change. The days are long, and the nights are short. The bills have to be paid. The kids get sick. The friend hurts your feelings. The grief suffocates. The job turns you down.
And on... and on... and on...
David understood this. He expresses it openly in Psalm 69: 1-3:
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.
But as I thought of David's words, God immediately brought me back to the lyrics of one of my favorite old songs from Hillsong. It simply goes like this:
Hide me now under your wings. Cover me within your mighty hands. When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm. Father, you are King over the flood. I will be still, know you are God.
Find rest, My Soul, in Christ alone. Know His power in quietness and trust. When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm. Father, you are King over the flood. I will be still, know you are God.
Maybe rushing waters can be peaceful because we have a God who can raise us up above the storm, above the flood. We don't have to do anything but trust in the safety, shelter, and strength of his wings.
Maybe we can find healing and hope of new things in the flood because we have a God who lets us on the Ark.
Maybe we can be OK when nothing seems to be getting better, when the waters come up to our necks, because we have a patient and kind Jesus waiting to pull us out.
Maybe we can be thankful the He is our refuge even when the storm does not cease. When the waters never seem to calm.
Maybe we can laugh because the wind and waves fear the One we call Savior.
When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. -Psalm 77:16
And maybe we can find rest when the waves threaten to capsize us because the One who says "Peace, Be still" is in the boat with us.
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by His strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe of your signs. -Psalm 65:5-7
The rushing waters are scary. And it almost feels impossible to trust through them. To hang on. To look at Jesus instead of the waves. It feels impossible sometimes to hope. To rest. To find strength to face them.
But we serve the God of the impossible.
May today be the day for trust. May today be the day we decide to look into His eyes, grab His hand, and let Him be our salvation.
May the sound of rushing waters may be peace-giving instead of peace-taking.
Because we know the voice of the Lord is louder. Because we know who made them in the first place. Because we know what He is capable of.
What is it for you? What do you need to stop looking at so that you can look at Him? What is the situation in which you need to trust Him to keep you? A broken relationship. A diagnosis. A bill that you can't pay. A family member you can't get back. A mental illness that is paralyzing.
Let's choose today to trust the one who is King over the flood, and simply be still, know He is God. Because we know one thing for certain, that He is greater than all of it.
Your Captain is still at the helm. - Ruth Chou Simons, Gracelaced