DEEP CALLS TO DEEP: RISE UP OUT OF THE CHAOS
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
I fell to my face before God yesterday as I reread the story of Jonah yesterday. It was not part about the fish that hit me, it was the part after he obeyed. He was angry, and I find my self today having felt a bit the same, repenting, turning around, yet still facing trial, suffering, sadness, but having peace amidst it all. But then I think about what God says to him, all of this HE said to me yesterday did you, did you plant or water any part of your life, or grow what you have, and I said no, and he said then you have no right to be angry, and I do not not, all I have is humble praise for my King, my God, Jesus.
God arranged for a broad-leafed tree to spring up. It grew over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry sulk. Jonah was pleased and enjoyed the shade. Life was looking up.
But then God sent a worm. By dawn of the next day, the worm had bored into the shade tree and it withered away. The sun came up and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head and he started to faint. He prayed to die: “I’m better off dead!”
Then God said to Jonah, “What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?”
Jonah said, “Plenty of right. It’s made me angry enough to die!”
God said, “What’s this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night. So, why can’t I likewise change what I feel about Nineveh from anger to pleasure, this big city of more than a hundred and twenty thousand childlike people who don’t yet know right from wrong, to say nothing of all the innocent animals?”
I have been called out of the deep, and into your glorious light Lord and I praise you for this Jesus. If I think back to the first time the roar of your waterfalls crashed over me, it was in a time of serious repentance on bed rest and I was seriously afflicted. The weight of our sins like a worm can eat through the shaded tree that covered Jonah, you assume the worm is Satan, how could things be taken away and then suddenly, like awakening from a deep sleep you realize GOD allowed these things to happen, to call you up out of darkness (deep, Genesis 1:1-3) into the light. It is through suffering, sin, repentance, we see our great need for JESUS. We allow him in our weakness to radiate strength and persevere. I remember feeling so weighted down, by what I could not explain, I now know it was oppression from the weight of unconfessed sin, wrong choice after wrong choice shoved under a blanket of shame, trying to hide my identity from God. There is no blanket thick enough to hide under. Like Jonah, most of my life I was running from what I have known has been Gods call on my life. Do I know what it is, no, but I do know after being thrown off my own ship, and swallowed by sin and sadness, and spit out of the deep ashore, I do not want to return to the abyss, like Jonah with my head tangled in seaweed.
When my life was slipping away,
I remembered God,
And my prayer got through to you,
made it all the way to your Holy Temple.
Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds,
walk away from their only true love.
But I’m worshiping you, God,
calling out in thanksgiving!
And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!
Salvation belongs to God!”
Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.
If I think of my time in New York, college, I was hanging upside down in a tangled seaweed grove of lies, sinful life choices, all for what, self fame. I wanted to make something of myself on my own, without Gods help. I ran with all my might to prove that I was more than my last name…I would make it on my own, I didn’t want another thing given to me, that was Pride. I have always known JESUS YOU SET ME APART, but I failed trying to achieve things on my own. I have been brought to my knees through facing myself personally and others close to me oppression, difficult pregnancies, open heart surgery, life threatening allergies, a broken family, alcoholism, addiction, swallowed in a sea of stuff, BUT YOU JESUS keep me afloat YOU lifted me out of the dirt, and you have called me to rise up out of my chaos. Because chaos is the world, but in you I find peace. So Jesus, I let the roar of your waterfall overtake me, run through me, let me be drowned by your presence. Where you lead me, help me to flow through the rapids of your river with peace and grace, showing mercy and love to those caught up in the chaos of the river of life.
There is hope in the chaos
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
Keep Your Eyes Open
As the crowd swelled, he took a fresh tack: “The mood of this age is all wrong. Everybody’s looking for proof, but you’re looking for the wrong kind. All you’re looking for is something to titillate your curiosity, satisfy your lust for miracles. But the only proof you’re going to get is the Jonah-proof given to the Ninevites, which looks like no proof at all. What Jonah was to Nineveh, the Son of Man is to this age.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (the message)
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.