Hope of the Farthest Seas
By Helen Park
September 21, 2020
Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
My parents went to see the 1975 summer blockbuster Jaws when it was released. As they never used babysitters, my three year-old self tagged along with them. They likely thought I would sleep through the movie or that perhaps I wouldn’t pay it any attention, but quite the opposite happened - I was riveted to the screen for the duration. Terrified by what I saw, I developed an intense childhood fear of dying in water. I would often have vivid imaginations of myself being churned about like a rag doll in deep, dark ocean water, unable to see or find a foothold. I would desperately try to break surface but ultimately l would lose my breath and no one came to save me.
In my adulthood, I began having dreams with a common motif - torrents of water rushing, flooding, or pouring down around me as I panic but am powerless to stop it. Anxiety and depression, which mark my maternal side of the family, also found me in my adulthood. These recurring dreams and my diagnosis are tied together: the uncontrollable waters in my dreams represent the things in my life that I want to control but cannot, and that loss of control feeds anxiety. As much as I would like, I do not have control over all my thoughts or feelings, not to mention my actions. I do not have control over wildfires and hurricanes, racial injustice, climate change, hunger and disease, warring nations, or Covid-19. I long for myself and the world to be perfect, but I cannot make it so. For an Ennegram 1, like myself, this is untenable. Who, then, can tame these ominous waters - the brokenness, trauma and unpredictability of this world that assail us all?
King David reminds us who can in Psalm 65. Starting in verse 5, David prays the character of God aloud saying, "You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and hope of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations." Our God, who brought calm, order, and life out of chaos when He first created the universe, has ever since continued to His redemptive work in the troubled lives of His people. I can be thankful for His work of calming the raging storms and seas in my past and present, while waiting expectantly for the perfection that is guaranteed to come. And unlike my childhood imaginations where no one saved me, I now rest in the knowledge that He already has.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.
— Psalm 65:8
Prayer to start with: Creator God, thank you for bringing calm out of chaos, beauty from ashes, and life from death. Thank you for being our anchor in times of uncertainty and turmoil. Help us to remember these truths about your nature when we give into our flesh and forget your faithfulness to us. You are always good, even when we and the world are not.