I love Psalm 107’s picture of sailors heading to open ocean. Minding their own business, doing their job, they head out despite dark sky and choppy seas. But soon a storm comes up with hurricane-force winds and monstrously high waves. In all their years, they’ve not encountered this. Desperation fueled by terror pumps adrenaline so they move faster, daring elements so out of their control they can’t be measured. When their fingers, so stiff with cold and wet, slip off the rope, they realize their frenzy is creating more chaos. Finally, with nothing more they can do, they simply hang on, wait, and pray.

Earlier that morning if you had asked if they were aware of the risks of their calling, they would have said, “Yes. I accepted that long ago.” Each time they leave port the unspoken commitment is that they give themselves to the strength of the boat, the care of each other, their own experience, and ultimately the ocean. When they leave port, they leave behind wife and children. They accept that life out on the deep is a different rhythm, schedule…a different kind of life.

After a while, when they do this time after time, what begins to emerge is confidence that though there are storms that shake, though there are times it seems the boat will snap in two, though the doldrums bring boredom and provocation among the crew…in spite of all that, they are sailors, made for a life of launching out into the deep. They are designed to live into a far-reaching, circumstance stretching, agony-at-times kind of faith. The kind that sinks to their knees when the storm passes shouting, “Thank God! We made it! He brought us through! In His goodness and mercy, He brought us through that!” Probably then, they begin to laugh, catching each other’s eye, remembering how scared they were, how real the threat was, and yet…here they are. Safe. Rescued. Alive.

Back on land when someone inquires, “I’d like to hire a boat with a good captain. I want to go out where the water turns dark. I want to see what’s out there,” a sailor can step forward with ease, freedom, and confidence because of those storms. And even be glad for the opportunity to head back out once more.

ACTION: Where are you in this Psalm story? Is there a storm(s) you’re encountering that is taking you to your limits? Are you safe back in the harbor feeling relief and joy? Or perhaps you are feeling afraid because the last storm hit you very hard? How is God inviting you to deeper confidence and freedom?


Immersed in Wonder
Out to the Deep -- Part 2