Updated: Feb 20, 2021
Psalm 107 has a simple story tucked inside with a powerful application. This is a story of people going about their way, business as usual, when something happened that would melt their courage like snow under a warm sun! (Which we should be seeing here in Texas soon! )
Take a closer look at their experience and see if you can relate. You will breathe in their salty air and feel the spray of the sea, and let's see if you emerge from the storm along with them, anchor in hand, holding onto a renewed version of hope.
The people in this story are merchant sailors, so being on the high sea was the norm. In their line of work they were witness to God's amazing creation in the deep. The powerful waves and the creatures beneath must have taken their breath away. In the middle of their sailing work day, God spoke and "stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths." You can see the ship pitching up and down. These merchants literally felt their "courage melting away."
This is just like grief. God has allowed the waves to come and in the middle of the life storm you may have felt your courage corroding and fear building.
On the ship these men were staggering, unable to gain their footing, being tossed back and forth. All their expertise, their years of experience, their wisdom was swallowed up by their fear. Like these sailors, you may be feeling like you don't know what else to do. The waves are high and out of your control. The situation is beyond your understanding and things are not making sense.
These sailors would encounter narrow passageways at sea. They were treacherous to navigate. They must have felt trapped, with the threat of capsizing, drowning, and imminent death. Maybe you too have sensed this kind of trouble, feeling boxed in with no where to go and no solution. In the middle of the storm they "cried out!" When I say cried out, I'm not talking about a raised tone of voice, I am talking about a shriek! The kind that sends chills down you back and terrifies you to the core.
They screamed out to the Lord and he brought them out of this tight, narrow, distressing passageway. They were still on the ship, he didn't teleport them somewhere else, but he did bring them through the hard places.
Then he "stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed." A whisper is still there, not completely gone, but quieter, giving us a reprieve. In our struggle we often want the all or nothing life, 100% healed with no issues, 0% conflict in our homes. However, the presence of sin and the spiritual battles we face will be our reality until heaven. In the meantime, God can settle the raging sea inside our hearts and minds.
Those on the ship were "glad when it grew calm." Allow yourself to rejoice, to brighten, to feel and experience joy when these calmer moments arrive. God, who allowed the waves to come, also heard their cries, he calmed them, and he "guided them to their desired haven." In the storms God has allowed in my life, my haven of hope has not been in having all the specific material and circumstantial things I have wanted and prayed for come true.
My haven is his presence, the safe enclosure of his love, his truth, and in the refuge of his grace. Our ultimate haven is heaven where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. We can be assured, the security of eternity with the Prince of Peace exists beyond our short, time-bound, bumpy ride on these merchant ships called life.
Observe the deep, cry out in the storm, and breathe in joy through salty tears when the waves settle to a whisper.
He is with you! Psalm 107: 23-32