I had this thought during worship yesterday. As the song “Oceans” came on I slipped out to use the restroom, and when I came back in I saw someone I know who is going through a really hard time. I stopped and talked to her for a minute, then I went back to the front and started singing along to the song. As the bridge of the song played the voices got louder and louder as though people were really crying out asking the Lord to do this in their lives. The words go like this –
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”
As the bridge repeated people sang louder and louder, arms in the air. As I listened to the words and thought about my last few months, and my friend’s last few months, I had these thoughts –
If the Lord taking you “deeper than your feet could ever wander, so your faith would be made stronger” meant your marriage falling apart because your husband was having an affair, would you still want to go deeper?
If it meant losing your job, would you still ask Him to take you deeper?
If it meant your child had gone off the deep end and was running as far as they could away from the Lord, would you still cry out for the Lord to take you deeper?
If it meant a cancer diagnosis for you or a loved one, would you still want to go deeper?
And if one, or all of these things happened to you, would you stop and look at the situation as the Lord “taking you deeper”, or would you be angry and blame Him for allowing those things to happen to you?
We are not a culture that embraces pain but often times the Lord uses the pain in our lives to take us deeper than we would want to wander on our own two feet.
Please hear me, going deeper with the Lord doesn’t always look like tragedy and turmoil, but from the experiences in my life, often times it does. And in the moments where I’ve felt like my life is falling apart I don’t always recognize it as the Lord taking me beyond where “my feet could wander.” In fact often in those moments I feel broken and abandoned, like I’ve been left in the ocean to drown, not to walk on water!
But recognizing each of these tragedies as an opportunity for the Lord to take me deeper will make my faith stronger and it will lead me to a place with the Holy Spirit “where my trust is without borders” because when I trust Him to walk me through great tragedy, I know I can trust Him to be there with me no matter where else life takes me.
Next time you sing this song, think about what the words are really saying. By no means am I saying it’s wrong to raise your hands and sing with all your heart for the “Spirit [to lead you] where [your] trust is without borders…” in fact I think we should ask the Lord to take us deeper to those places where we can grow with Him!
But what I want to say is this—often times those “deeper” places don’t feel spirit-filled and exciting, like the song. Usually they feel broken, dark, lonely and like you want to die. But recognizing those dark places as an invitation to invite the Holy Spirit in will increase your faith, it will blow up the walls built up around your trust, and you will walk on the waters of victory with your Savior as you allow Him to lead you.
So friends, please sing this song as loud as you can, but when you lose someone close to you, you find out it’s your marriage on the line, or it’s you that gets diagnosed with cancer, please don’t turn and blame God, ask Him to use that terrible situation to take you deeper.
Sometimes it’s hard, but we have to remember and recognize that we live in a fallen world, a world filled with tragedy, and God is going to use this painful situation to take you deeper because He knows you would never walk here on your own. But there’s great victory on the other side of this turmoil and when it gets hard and you think you’d rather die, “[keep your eyes above the waves, and let your soul rest in His embrace]”. You will find rest in His embrace, I promise, and I know because I’ve been there, I am there now. Fear will come, doubt will want to be your best friend, but He will NEVER let you down.
Join me, everyone! Trust only in God every moment!
Tell him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to him.
Believe me when I tell you—he will help you!
God said to me once and for all,
‘All the strength and power you need flows from me!’
And again I heard it clearly said,
‘All the love you need is found in me!’” – Psalm 62:8, 11-12 (tPt)
These verses have become my mantra, I say them over and over again most days. If the Lord is taking you deeper now, let these words wash over you and become your mantra. Write them somewhere you’ll see them often, mine are written on the vintage window in the laundry room. Let these words ring louder in your ears than the fear and doubts the enemy keeps heaping on you. ALL the strength you need and ALL the love you need is found in Him!