If you fly over the ocean in a jet plane, it looks serene. At some point during my childhood I realized that crash-landing in the ocean wasn’t any better than crash-landing on dirt; the ocean isn’t as forgiving as it appears to be from a mile above the surface.
If you float in the ocean, even if you’re near the coastline, you see the surface for what it is. Choppy, full of waves, unpredictable. At some point in my teen years I realized that the ocean isn’t a swimming pool; that the pattern of the waves can shift and surprise you and, if you’re not careful, pull you under.
If you sink deep deep in the ocean, it’s darker. The sun dances on the waves but it’s muted brightness. It’s cooler, and calmer, and the deeper you sink, the calmer it is. Storms on the surface do not have an effect on the deep. At some point in my adult years, I started wishing for the depth to cover me over; desperate for the perceived peace that comes from numbness to the things going on around me. I wish for the ability to be oblivious; to shut my eyes and stop up my ears and create my own silence.
But, I can’t.
I can’t sink deep and stay there any more than I can live in an airplane and see everything as perfect.
I live on the surface where the boat I’m in rocks and shudders as storms rage around me. The One who speaks silence to the wind shows his power in this place. The silence I try to create for myself is false, there is always chaos in the silence. The silence my Jesus creates in a storm is Real and True.
He could show is power in the deep, he could show is power in the skies, but he is choosing to show is power in the uncertainty of waves that crash and leave me clinging to the side of the boat wishing I was anywhere but there.
Ultimately (grudgingly?), I am glad I am here, in the insanity of the waves. When my emotions churn with hurricane force; that is where He is at his best. If my actions speak of a need to control the storm rather than sitting at the feet of the one who created the very waters that rock me, that is where He is most glorified.
I won’t say that the blinding cool of the deep or the oblivious false joy of the skies doesn’t tempt me some days. If comparison is the thief of joy then some days I am guilty of handing my joy away. It’s ridiculously easy to compare myself to others, and wish for the blue skies and calm depths I perceive them to own. Truth is, we’re all on the surface, aren’t we? We’re all riding boats that have to plow through storms and rogue waves and howling winds at some point.
Yep. We sure are.
So here I am, telling you that you may look at me and my life and see smooth blue. You may think I’m cool and calm. But, I’m not. I’m a seeker of calm waters that is being painfully refined through storms that aren’t even all of my creation (and aren’t those sometimes the worst?) I’m a mess. I’m an imperfect person trying to lean into Perfection; thankful that Perfection welcomes me with open arms.