Paul and Barnabas travelled from city to city encouraging the disciples, urging them to stand firm in the faith and reminding them that it is “through many tribulations that we must enter into the kingdom of [Heaven]” [Acts 14:22, J.B. Philips]. There is so much joy attached to knowing Yahshua and receiving His gift of salvation, that the troubles which come our way frequently take us by surprise! We are astonished to read that we are “…born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” [Job 5:7]. Startled when, in the depths of depression, the Psalmist cries, “all your waves and breakers have swept over me” [Psalm 42:7].
Yet pause a moment: was that ‘your waves’? Whose waves? To whom is this psalm written? It’s directed towards Yahweh [v6]! Storms are part of life, and life can be as restless as the sea; charming us with its loveliness or drowning us in its turbulence. But there is nothing that comes our way that Yahweh does not bind into the fabric of life and mould into beauty and usefulness [Romans 8:28]. The Passion Translation of Psalm 42:7 suggests that, when we are in trouble, we allow our deep need to call out to the deep kindness of Yahweh’s love.
They are HIS waves, whether they break over us,
Hiding His face in smothering spray and foam;
Or smooth and sparkling, spread a path before us,
And to our haven bear us safely home.
They are HIS waves, whether for our sure comfort
He walks across them stilling all our fear;
Or to our cry there comes no aid nor answer,
And in the lonely silence none is near,
They are HIS waves, whether we are hard-striving
Through tempest-driven waves that never cease,
While deep to deep with turmoil loud is calling;
Or at His word they hush themselves to sleep.
They are HIS waves, whether He separates them,
Making us walk dry ground where seas had flowed;
Or lets tumultuous breakers rage about us,
Rushing unchecked across our only road.
They are HIS waves, and He directs us through them;
So He has promised, so His love will do.
Keeping and leading, guiding and upholding,
To His sure harbour, He will bring us through.
Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)