Waves, water, storms, and oceans

Have you ever had one of those weeks, where you’ve had the same recurring theme come at you from different sources, so much so that you’re sure it can’t be coincidence, and that God must be trying to talk to you?

Last week was one of those weeks for me.

Waves

It started on Wednesday, when I was reading the daily poem for #BIGRead14, called Repentance.

Walking into the ocean
the cold bites toes and ankles.
Sand is ripped from footprint
in the ebb and flow of surf
even at an inch’s depth
Pushing on, each wave becomes a body blow. a
thud on the belly
a crash on the chest.
The eighth, the biggest, pushes me
back a pace or two.
Best to lunge over or
dive under, through
water, suspended sand and murky foam.

This is what it is to face
the One who was and is and is to come.
This is what it is to face the Creator
who comes in Spirit and storm.

Yet:

if this is what it is to face,
maybe I am facing wrongly.
In the surf there is no
question. The journey out allows the return;
what seemed like infinite
resistance, is now propelling power.

Let me turn my back,
not in disrespect, but in true alignment;
and speed me along the new forward,
my old backward.

Mwnt, Cardigan Bay

I spent some time reflecting on this poem at the time, and I was reminded of a day I spent at a beach in July last year, whilst holidaying in Wales, our first proper family holiday. We visited a sheltered cove near Cardigan Bay, called Mwnt (I thoroughly recommend visiting if you get the chance), and I went out for a swim a few times, first walking, then wading, then swimming further. But if you stopped swimming and tried to stay in one place, you were slowly returned back to the beach, due to the power of the waves pushing into the cove.

This poem evoked memories of this, and also of the story of Jonah, where he was returned back to where God had intended him to be, despite Jonah’s best efforts to go in the opposite direction.

Water

Then, the following day, I was skipping through my MP3s, and rediscovered an album I haven’t listened to for months (if not years!), Chair and Microphone, Vol. 3. I stuck it on in my car, and began to listen on my way in to work. The first track on the album is called You Are Mine, and again, there was the imagery of water, this time looking back at the Israelites escaping from Egypt via the Red Sea, despite it appearing at first that all was lost. But the water was parted for them, and they continued on their journey towards the promised land.

Storms

Then on Sunday, Neil was preaching from Mark 4, and a few comments in his sermon particularly caught my attention:

 

 

 
I think that last comment caught my attention most – it’s easy to be scared of what’s going on around us, with the metaphorical waves of life throwing us around, but the bigger picture is that there’s someone who’s in control of it, and in a way that’s even more terrifying, but also empowering. It also reminded me of another Bible verse:

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31

Oceans

Finally, came the song that Ian had chosen to use in worship, after Neil’s sermon. Again, the song is about water (inevitable, given the sermon, I guess), but the words of the bridge in particular stuck in my head, this time using the imagery of Jesus walking on water:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I’ve still not fully worked out what God’s saying to me through all these ‘coincidences’, but I have noticed that in all these different images, water has presented a barrier to people, but God used it in different ways;

  • Sometimes it’s a barrier created by God, to push us in a certain direction that he wants to go.
  • Sometimes he parts the waves, to remove the barrier, and to give safe passage to where you’re meant to be.
  • Sometimes he calms the storm, to remind us we should have faith in his purpose.
  • Sometimes he’ll allow us to walk on the water, which otherwise would present a barrier to us.