”Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” Psalm 42:7
Earlier in the summer, my wife and I spent a Sunday afternoon at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. The spring and summer rains feeding Minnehaha Creek have made the falls a roaring attraction this year. The sheer force of voluminous amounts of water ceaselessly cascading into such a picturesque grotto-like setting is indeed breathtaking. From there the swollen creek tumbles and rumbles its way through the remaining several furlong run into the mighty Mississippi.
Waterfalls have a way of mesmerizing your soul as they beckon you to come closer and closer. They have a unique allure in nature that tantalize all the senses. Not only are they a beautiful to behold with the eyes and stunning in surround sound to the ears, but they also cannot be fully appreciated until one is close enough to feel their spray in your face and lick their moisture from your lips. And while savoring that, the senses are finally satiated as you breath in deep gulps of their freshness through your nose. Ah…h that is how waterfalls are meant to be experienced!
But waterfalls also can be perilous. Sensory delight can turn into sensory overload if a person ventures beyond the posted warning signs or danger areas. Those signs are there for a reason because someone, sometime, somehow got too close and went from being a visitor by the water to a victim in the water.
The verse quoted above is written by someone who got too close to a waterfall. In fact the waterfall of life was coming at him with such ferocity that it literally swept over him and would have swept him away were not for God’s love for him. (42:8) All of us have from time to time been engulfed at the base of a waterfall where we feel like we are drowning in the pressures and trials of life that are endlessly pouring in upon us.
The writer of Psalm 42 and 43, which together form a sixteen verse prayer, opens his heart to God in a most vulnerable, if not disarming way. He literally pours out his soul as he battles with overwhelming discouragement and seeming estrangement from God. For him, the waterfall of life is unrelenting. This is an easy prayer to identify with because all of us feel that way at times. In fact like this man we can find ourselves even wondering “Where is God?” (42:19)
But in the midst of the “waves and breakers” God is speaking. “Deep is calling to deep.” The Holy Spirit, who “searches all things, even the deep things of God” is calling to us, to the deep inner reaches of our souls. (1 Corinthians 2:10) From the depth of God’s heart He is speaking to the depths of our heart. Why is it that sometimes it takes being overwhelmed and under it, before we finally hear what God is saying to us? Why is it that we must experience such pressure before we take a timeout to listen? Why does it take the depth of God’s dealing in our life to finally enable us to open up and respond from the depths of our hearts to Him?
The keeper of the vineyard is closest to his precious vines when he is pruning them. His tender, loving hands are embracing his fruit bearing plants when he is trimming and shaping them for even greater fruitfulness. Yes it can be painful and perplexing, but at a deeper level it is preparing the plant for a “future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
In the depth of the psalmist’s heart he hears and sees God in that way. And so he exhorts himself three times in the course of his prayer: “Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5, 11 & Psalm 43:5)
Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? Could God be calling “deep to deep” in your life? Do you want to hear what He is saying? If so, make this your prayer: “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me, let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” (Psalm 43:3)
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