Submerged

 

Beneath the sea there is a rock, created when darkness was over the surface of the deep. Myriads of sea plants and creatures have touched the surface of the rock over the eons but never changed it. Currents have swirled, earthquakes trembled, yet the rock endures, immovable.

When calm weather smooths the sea far above, sometimes shafts of sunlight reach down to illumine its craggy face. Darting fish shadows dance across it, sea grasses stroke green fingers along its stony skin, and it remains constant. Just as it does when storms lash the sea with wild winds and rain. Thunder claps, subdued beneath the surface, are more felt than heard within the chaotic churn of the sea. Surging currents sweep loosened debris and marine life helplessly along, reducing visibility to green murkiness. The rock is a shadowy, immutable presence in the middle of the turmoil.

The love of God is a rock submerged beneath the ever-changing currents of our lives. No matter what may be occurring on the surface, God’s unfailing love remains a steadfast foundation beneath all that tosses us about. Does this bring you deep comfort, as it does me?

Years ago when my life was a storm of hardships, this image of a rock beneath the surface of the sea came to me as a gift, I believe, from God. Knowing my love of the sea, He placed this picture in my mind of His unchanging love for me. I remember as a child ducking under the sparkling waves at the ocean’s edge. It was a different world beneath the surface, where gravity was suspended and sounds muted. Grasping the rocks on the bottom to keep myself from popping to the surface, I opened my eyes in the green, opaque beauty of the undersea world. I couldn’t see the rocks before diving but I knew they were there, just as later I knew without a doubt that God’s absolute love was the rock beneath my unsettled world, even when my troubled spirit could not sense Him.

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal.” ( Isaiah 26:4 NIV)

The world tends to portray love as a soft, often fickle emotion, capable of inspiring great passion that can soon fade. It cannot compare to God’s enduring love demonstrated ultimately in the giving of His Son. Jesus Christ willingly took the plunge from His home in heaven, submerging Himself in our sinful world yet never sinning so He could offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for us. He is the bedrock of our living faith and the perfect expression of God’s love.

“As you come to Him, the living Stone — rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house.”
(1 Peter 2:4-5)

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A Rock Unshakeable

nakwakto rapidsI recall the surreal sensation of  the rock island shaking beneath my feet. I was on  a house-sized island which stands defiantly against the churning current of Nakwakto Rapids. There are at least 250 kilometers of inland waterways that comprise the Seymour & Belize inlets on Canada’s west coast, and the only connection with the sea is through Nakwakto Rapids. When the tide is running, the rapids rip around the island at up to 18 knots (20 mph.), recorded as the fastest tidal surge in the world. Such forceful movement of seawater through narrow channels actually causes the island to tremble, thus its local name, Tremble Island.

If I hadn’t experienced it myself I would not have believed that a rock island of that size could be shaken. The movement beneath my feet threw off my equilibrium. I was used to walking on a moving boat, however moving land was another thing altogether. Although the shaking wasn’t visible to the eye, I still needed to brace my feet and hold on to trees. When the tide finally slackened I was relieved to get off the island to the man-made security of a boat.

Standing on Tremble Island taught me something. Nothing in this world is secure, not even the ground I walked on. The people, places and things I looked to as stable and safe always had the potential to let me down. Realizing this didn’t make me a pessimist, just a realist. The world was in constant flux and I was caught up in its movement, like it or not.

Not long after standing on Tremble Island, all that I depended on in my life was knocked out from under me. My marriage, bank account and health all disintegrated within a few months and I was left floundering, swept along in the rapids of abandonment and hardship. Those rapids washed me up on the one surety left. God had long been the focus of my life, but now in a deeper way I found Him to be the solid Rock when all other ground was sinking sand.

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  (Psalm 40:1-2  NIV)

That firm place to stand is God Himself. He is the Rock, the foundation under girding all life. Jehovah is my rock, my fortress and my savior. I will hide in God, who is my rock and my refuge. (2 Samuel 22;2-3 LB)

There is a learning about God which can only occur in the slimy pit, the mud and mire of this often cruel world. When I think about that pain-filled period, I remember the deep anguish, the hurt, the fear, but most clear in my memory is the presence of God in those times. He was more real than any of my trials, comforting me when I lay sobbing on my bed, providing for my needs before I voiced them, giving me peace as I faced cancer treatments.

More than that, He was, and still is, the solid ground beneath my feet when all else was in turmoil around me. His loving closeness, His Spirit speaking to mine, the assurances in His Word,  kept me upright through the worst storm I had ever faced.

Tremble Island still stands, in spite of its trembling through each tide change. It stands because it is a very large rock with foundations that go deep. I expect I will tremble too, with each trial which may come, but I trust in the Rock my feet stand upon; steadfast, immovable, the foundation of my whole being, and I will be secure.

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 NIV)

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