Tucked away in Psalm 18:16 are these words:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
Almost every time I read those words I tear up. That is exactly what God did for me in the midst of some severe storms in my life that threatened to overtake me a few years ago. Our extended family was facing some serious health issues, I was reeling from the betrayal of a loved one, and my faith was shaken. But my all-powerful, holy, magnificent God cared enough about me to reach down, take hold of me, and draw me out of the deep waters.
When I first discovered this verse, I pictured my water-walking God reaching down with powerful arms and hands and pulling me out of a raging sea. Oh, seaweed was still wrapped around my feet; the storm was still raging; I was gasping for air, but He had come for me. He took hold of me, and His Presence began to calm the storm in my heart and mind.
I think that’s what the disciples saw, too, when Jesus pushed through the stormy seas to walk on water to get to them. I don’t think He looked like the flannel-graph Jesus of my 60’s Sunday school class, the one that appeared in every scene. Whether He was confronting Pharisees for their legalism, healing the sick, weeping at a friend’s grave, or walking on water, flannel-graph Jesus always had the same smiling face, white robe without spot or wrinkle, and hands folded serenely.
That is not the Jesus of the New Testament or the God that I’ve come to know. It’s more likely that Jesus—lightning flashing around Him, waves and wind swirling about Him—marched on with a face of relentless determination, charging through the storm to get to His disciples.
I am so grateful that God continues to tread the stormy waves of our own lives to rescue us with His calming presence, even when the storms keep raging. That’s the message of the song “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns. In this link of the song the lead singer introduces the song with these words:
“Sometimes God calms the storms in our lives and sometimes He just rides them with us, but either way, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The lion image was painted by my friend Rita: My Stormy God, 48×48″ Acrylic on Canvas by Rita Salazar Dickerson. You can order a copy of this print at Rita’s etsy shop: link here. Or visit Rita’s website to see more of her artistry at: ritasalazardickerson.com.
What about you? I’d love to hear how God has met you in the storms of your life.
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