“You called me out upon the waters. The great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery. In oceans deep my faith will stand.” -Hillsong United
I met the ocean for the first time in my life this past summer. It is, by far, the most awe-inspiring thing I have ever beheld. Seeing the sky touch the sea, with no land beyond my sight, made my world a whole lot smaller. It’s so vast. Fathomless. I still cannot wrap my mind around the depths I imagine beneath the surface and the many treasures forever hidden there.
I was feeling really brave the first day I walked out into the salty waves and said to my niece, “Hey, let’s swim out to that buoy.” It was about a quarter mile from the beach and since there were others out near it, I thought for sure we could do it. And I’m still sure we could have … we just didn’t. We swam about halfway to it and got cold feet. Quite literally. I stopped swimming long enough to assess how far we had gone out and how much further we had to go and while my legs coursed through the water below, I felt a change in the temperature. It was perceptibly colder right about where my toes were.
My imagination kicked in overdrive. I imagined a chasm. That was the only plausible explanation in my mind at that moment for such a drastic temperature change so close to shore. And chasms are dark. Creepy things hide in the dark. Creepy swimmy things. Big creepy swimmy things. Big creepy swimmy things that probably want to eat me. I was suddenly over the idea of swimming out to the buoy. I turned to my niece and said, “Yeah … I’m done.” She giggled and we both turned and swam back toward the shore.
Here’s the truth: I’m a little scared of the ocean. Not the big body of water so much as the many things I know swim below the surface. I was much closer to shore a few days later when I lowered my foot down on what felt like a fairly large fish. We were a stone’s throw away from dry land. Imagine what else is out there!
I’ve always sung the song “Oceans” very sincerely. It’s one of my favorites. But then I met “oceans deep” and I can honestly say that I had to sincerely consider that commitment I always reiterate to the Lord when this song comes on. If I’m in a boat, the depth doesn’t scare me. It makes me sea-sick, but doesn’t scare me. But that song is about being out there like Peter. “If that’s you, Lord, tell me to come to you.” Out there, the great unknown where feet may fail. I find both of those things quite discomfiting.
I “stepped out of the boat” once, in the beginnings of my relationship with the Lord. I was young, reckless and full of faith. The Lord told me I was to quit my job and begin writing and with no plan B, single with two small kids at home and having just purchased my home, I did it. I hardly considered the repercussions. I was certain of God’s direction and certain He would get us through whatever was to come.
That certainty lasted less than a day before Satan started planting worry, doubt and fear in my heart. I fought against them for the next three years as the Lord began to reveal himself to me in so many marvelous ways. What God did for us in those years has solidified my faith.
I remember those days and it seems like another life altogether. It was years ago. I was brave then, but sometime since, a coldness has crept over my toes and I have cold feet about a lot of things. I’m suddenly timid. Fearful. There’s a lot of stuff below the surface that I can’t see. Big stuff I can’t anticipate, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t know for certain what it is. I know it’s out there. And I find myself living in fear a lot.
But here’s the truth: I know the one who made that ocean. I know the one who told that ocean how far it can go. I know the one who created every creature in that ocean and I have seen Him do some amazing things to protect and care for my family. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” As I write this, I am suddenly overwhelmed with this faith that I wish I would have taken with me out to that buoy. I wish I would have braved that unknown. Perhaps the ocean and I will meet again. The Lord knows I loved it! Until then, I will face the commands and guidance of God ever reminding myself of His faithfulness and constancy in my life. I encourage you to do the same!