Monday, January 27, 2014

Deep Waters

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
Psalm 69:1-3

Time and time again, David, in the psalms, knows how to put into words exactly the way I am feeling. Today I feel like my soul is in so much anguish. I feel broken and crushed. I feel as though I have been stolen from.

I know I do not serve a cruel God. But I do live in a cruel world where sin runs rampant and Satan continuously steals, kills and destroys.

There is a very popular song out right now, and I'm sure many of you have heard it. It's called "Oceans" by Hillsong. It's a beautiful song with some beautiful truths throughout. One of my favorite lines that I have seen come to life is where it says, "Your grace abounds in deepest waters." I believe I am in some of those "deepest waters" right now, and I can tell you that yes, His grace does abound. But I would be lying if I said that I love these deep waters. I'm ready to get back to the shore. Selfishly, I want to be on dry land - where it's safe and firm and steady.

There is one part of this song that I want to point out. This has been weighing heavy on my heart for quite some time now. I am not setting out to try and burst anyone's bubble, but I do think we should be aware of the bold prayer set toward the end of the song. Sometimes it's so easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of a song or the great tune or the musical build-up as the song reaches its climax. And although our intentions may be pure, sometimes we lose sight of the words we are proclaiming. Do we realize that a song is merely a prayer put to music? If we took the instruments away and only had the words, would we really kneel down before God and offer these same heart cries?

Here is the part of the song that I'm afraid is sung all too flippantly by many. As you read, especially if you know the song, try to take the tune out of your head, and read it as though it were simply a prayer and not a song at all:

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

Now that is a bold prayer. A prayer that I am still afraid to pray. There is one line in particular that really makes me tremble...

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.

Do we realize what we are saying? We are basically saying, "God, take me to a place that I would never dare venture on my own. Put me smack in the middle of a storm that I would never specifically ask for. Take me off this dry land, and put me in that deep ocean where the waves are so treacherous. Take me there so my faith can grow."

Don't get me wrong. This is a good prayer. A prayer that I'm sure God is very pleased with. He loves to hear His children say, "Take me to a place where I am desperate for you. I want more of you." And I believe when He hears that prayer, He will act. He wants to give us more of Himself. He wants us to depend on Him more than we depend on ourselves.

I just think we need to realize what we are asking for when we sing this song. We need to ask ourselves, "Where are the places that I would never wander on my own?" For me, I would have never wandered to this place where my mom was taken by cancer. Never. Never in a million lifetimes. But that's the type of thing we are asking for when we sing those words in our congregations or in the car or in the shower. I'm not saying it's always going to be that drastic. But those deep waters could be anything...

Losing a job.
Failing a class.
A stark disagreement with your spouse.
Getting a speeding ticket when money is tight.
A "fender bender.
A breakup.
Moving away from family and friends.
A car accident.
Death of a loved one.

If you had a list of options in front of you - of various trials that you could pick from to come into your life - the one that you would never pick, that you would say, "I could never handle that one," - that's what you're asking for when you sing the words, "Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander."

Please know my heart. I'm not trying to be a "Debbie Downer." I just think we need to be keenly aware of the words we sing (aka the prayers we pray) whether we are alone at home or in a congregation with hundreds of other people.

And with all that being said, I do not think this is a prayer we should shy away from. Because yes, the waters may be deep - deeper than our feet would ever wander - but God is always good. He will never drop you off in those deep waters and abandon you. He will be right there with you. He will uphold you. He is sovereign over all the waters, and His word tells us:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through the fire
you shall not be burned,
and the flames shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

So yes, even though it's a bold, scary prayer, we should still pray it. Ultimately, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain - the nearness of God, the comfort of God, the promises of God, the grace of God, we will grow in our faith, we will know Him like we've never known Him before.

I feel like I am preaching to myself. These are the very words I need to hear, yet I am having such a hard time holding onto. Jordan, in these deep waters, you have nothing to lose. You have everything to gain. Even though you've lost your momma, it's only for a short while in comparison to eternity. You will see her again. But while you're still here, God is near. He will comfort you. He will uphold you. He will restore you. He will bring good from this. He loves you. Oh, He loves you.

May we not shy away from the deep waters life will bring. As much as I long to be on dry land right now, I have to keep telling myself that God is near. As much as I feel like the waters are going to overtake me, they will not.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."


  1. Wow. Your words resonate with me so deeply. I found your mom's blog last February when my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Last week, we found out the cancer is back, this time in her liver. I am living in dark waters. Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in these waters. YET, as you so beautifully said, God is walking with me. He loves us so much. And while I don't understand your mom's death or why my mom is going through this again, I know God is with us especially when it hurts so much. Thank you for your vulnerability and encouragement. I'm praying for you and your family.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear you are also walking such a difficult road. I can never say it enough - I hate cancer with every ounce of my being. Keep preaching God's promises to yourself, even when you're having a hard time believing them. That's where I find myself today. It's hard to keep believing the promises, but I know it's the only thing, and He's the only one, who will carry us through.

  2. Jordan, these words are beautiful. We sang Oceans in church yesterday and I felt totally crippled by the weight of those lines. I do not want to be taken to those deeper waters. But I know that going there means encountering God in a new way. I do not envy you, and my heart aches for you. I pray that you continue to receive what you need for each day. Your references to the Psalms have been a great reminder of how good and real they are. Thank you for sharing with us. Your heart is incredible and your words are a gift.
    - Rachel (Duncan) Kirksey

  3. well written Jordan! You probably feel like you're dog paddling, with you're head just above water. Remember - you're still swimming. Praying for you!

  4. Oh, Jordan, you are as gifted a writer as your precious Mother was. I first listened to the song, Oceans, via your Mom's blog and what a song!!! Thanks for such an inspiring post. I don't think any of us want to walk into deeper waters, but I know that the times I have I've been brought through with a deeper abiding faith in the Lord. Blessings abundant to you Jordan!

  5. You sweet girl, my heart breaks reading your pain.