There is a verse that I read and pray through periodically.
It’s Psalm 107:28-31.
But this morning I camped out on the entire Psalm. It’s a beautiful Psalm of redemption. And what I also discovered is that it truly expresses my experience of God’s grace since my ex-husband’s incarceration and life seemingly fell apart.
Read this beautiful passage:
Many people have asked me what it has been like, how I have survived, how my crew has survived. This passage answers those and many other questions greater than I ever could.
Because, you see, it has been like being on a large ocean–I have done business on the great waters. But it is in these great waters of the deeps of despair and hopelessness, fear and darkness that I have seen the “deeds of my Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.” Deep is the right word, for the pain and despair has been of the deepest kind, deeper than I can explain. Oh, and it encompasses so much more than just my ex-husband’s arrest. No, it includes a lifetime of hurt and escape, hurt and escape. But my Lord is the only one capable of reaching such depths of my soul, to do His deeds of life-giving healing.
My God is sovereign: “He commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.” I know that nothing I have faced has not been sifted first through His hands. Much like Job, I found myself sitting in ashes with unanswerable questions–at least, unanswerable by any other answer other than “I am God.” And like Job, I have had to wrestle my mind until I could come to a place where I could say alongside Job “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him, yet I will argue my ways to His face.” And oh, how I have argued. And how patient He has been with my arguing; with my crying out to Him; with my pages and pages of bleeding my prayers out to Him. I will hope in Him.
The waves of this experience have been just as they are described here in this Psalm: “They mounted to heaven; they went down to the depths” and my “courage melted away in their evil plight”. I remember once that my mother-in-law and I went sailing with some people she knew. I was ready for a great adventure, until “something important” (never did find out what that important thing was) broke and we found ourselves at the mercy of the waves, far from shore, and me with the instructions to hold on to this rope tied to the sail and to “Not Let Go”. Up and down we went, with very little control. It was frightening, even for me who likes adventure. My “courage melted away”.
That’s what it’s been like on this journey. There has been exhilaration of mounting to heaven as I have seen God work miracles of provision and grace in our lives. Uncontainable joy, even. But those same waves have gone down to the depths where it is dark and black and there are unknown things–and my courage has melted away. I have “reeled and staggered like a drunken” man. And I have been at “my wit’s end.” Oh yes my friends, there have been times in this experience where I have felt one step away from insanity. One step away from walking off the edge of this planet. I have been at my wit’s end amidst terror and fear and nightmares. I couldn’t see hope.
But now, my God has “made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea have been hushed”. My soul…..I have seen the work of the Lord with my own eyes. He has stilled the storm–both the one swirling around me, and the won deep inside of me. My Jesus has said “Shhhh” to the waves and has said “Shhhh” to my trembling self. Only He could do this. Only He could do this. There are still storms, occasional flare-ups. But because I have seen Him still the waves before, there is greater hope inside of me that He will continue to make the storms be still.
“Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven.” Oh my friends, I am so glad when the waters are quiet. When they are still. He brings me to my desired haven nearly every day when I am committed to spend time with Him. He brings me to my desired haven as I watch my children grow healthy and stable, knowing Him as their Father. And ultimately He will bring me to my desired haven of heaven, where there will be eternal rest, eternal joy, and eternal awe at seeing my Jesus face to face. All that is wrong will be made right.
“Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love.” And this right here has been the theme. God’s steadfast love gently pushing me to stand fast. Over and over again it is His steadfast love that saves my sanity, provides for my family, and helps us to keep pushing forward. His works are wondrous!
I have a beautiful, beautiful church family. And they are family to me. They have been Jesus to my crew and I, in so many ways. I am astounded. Grateful. I’ll never be able to repay them, because grace can not be repaid. But I can do this: “Extol God in the congregation of the people; and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.” Yes, I want to praise God amongst my church family. I want to share with them what God has done and is doing in my life. I want them to see how God has used them, and the universal church all over the world, to minister to some of my deepest needs. Whew. I am grateful. I want to praise God.
I know this has been a long post. And yet this passage requires the words that spill forth from it. Maybe you can see yourself also somewhere in this Psalm. You may be in the midst of the waves. You may be at your wit’s end. Or you may be able to rejoice as you have seen your God work. Whatever the case, we must be thankful for this Psalm writer for giving us words that expresses the deepest recesses of our souls. And we must praise and give God thanks in the congregation amongst the people, for He has done good things.