When Oceans Rise

Hillsong United released a song in 2013 called Oceans. If you have been to church in the past 3 years, I can almost guarantee that you’ve heard it. Christians quickly made it a new anthem of our faith, and it was played in churches across the entire world. Today, people are starting to shy away from using it in worship sets. Claiming that it’s “over-played” and could use a little break from being placed into our regular worship sessions. It had been a little while since I had heard it, but today as I was driving it came on and some of the words struck me in a way they never have before.

Before I had gotten in my car, I was having a very serious conversation with a dear friend of mine, and it was extremely difficult for me. There was something that God had been telling both of us, and though we did not like it, we had to bring it into the open and follow where the Lord was leading. It hurt, and I cried more than I expected to. I’ve learned to be pretty good at masking my tears and saving them for my pillow at night. But as everything I had known and worked for the past few months crumbled away, I couldn’t hold my calm. I couldn’t sit there and pretend to be okay. I wasn’t. It didn’t feel fair. I was angry at God for making me do something so painful for reasons that I can’t see and don’t know. I was sad for what I was losing and the future that I had worked up in my head and what I wanted it to look like. I had so many emotions and all I wanted was to curl up in a ball and just cry for hours. But then Oceans came on. I started to sing along with the lyrics, pouring myself into every word.

“You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery. In oceans deep, my faith will stand.

And I will call upon your name. And keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace. For I am yours, and you are mine.”

Every lyric of the song felt so real to me, like it has in other times of stress and fear. The waters of my pain and insecurity were all around me, and I felt like I was sinking in them. The emotions were overwhelming, and I could feel myself slipping deeper and deeper, neck deep and descending rapidly. The only thing I had to keep my eyes on was God. That was literally it. He was calling me to ignore the pain and take my mind off of the hurt and focus only on him. I had to trust that he was holding me, and that he would not allow me to be overtaken if I simply allowed him to keep me safe.

But these are all things we have heard before. Everybody feels that way at times and everybody rests in that truth. But there was also something new that came along that I didn’t expect.

“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.”

Once again, people all over the world, everyday, connect to this lyric in a huge way. The way I have always connected it was asking God to lead me into places and situations I have not yet been in and to use me in a huge way there. That was it. But there is so much more behind these words. If I am lead where my trust has no borders, then I am walking straight into the waters that terrify me. I’m walking headfirst into the fear and the pain that I know so well, and I am trusting him to be there. I’m asking him to take me deeper, to send me further into these waters where it becomes harder to see him, but my faith grows so much more. It takes so much more faith to trust someone to keep you up in the deep end than it does in the kiddy pool. With those simple words, I am literally asking God to challenge my faith and send me deeper into the hurt and the pain than I have ever been before. I’m not just allowing him to, but I am begging him to give me the chance to grow my faith. That is what a blossoming relationship with God should be. It should be us, weak and frail, allowing him to pull us far past what we believe we can handle in order to grow our faith and trust in him so much more.

So what happened to me today was just the first of many circumstances where I was pushed past what I believed I could handle. It was God showing me that he still has me and has a plan for my future, regardless of what it feels like now. I don’t have to understand it. I don’t have to know why he gives us things and then takes them away. I don’t have to know why he allows me to feel so much pain, and even asks me to push my pain farther. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I trust him to do what he said he would do. What matters is that when oceans all around me are getting higher and I am falling deeper, that I still allow him to hold me right where I need to be.

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  1. Wow! I can identify. My pain is not the same as yours, but God is so real and has always been there. Sometimes my body hurts so badly that I think it is intolerable. But, He has shown me it is not and I can trust Him with it. Paul asked God three times to remove his “thorn in the flesh” (2Cor.7-10), but He did not. Just look at how God brought him through and used him in such great ways. Now I am not a Paul, and your pain is far worse than mine, but the God we serve is the same and He knows how much each of us can bear.

    You have it right, kiddo. Focus on Him. Tell Him you trust Him with your life, pain and all. Praise Him in word and with your beautiful voice! Glory to His great name! Romans 5:3-5

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