It can be tempting to think that equilibrium is all about finding the smoothing sailing and seas possible. Or that faith should help us weather any storm without ever grumbling or feeling seasick. That some how we are at fault if the waves come crashing down, overwhelming us. Yet, I am not so sure faith can be as easy as that equation might suggest.
Sometimes we need to live through the storm to see what is on the other side. Perhaps it is only in going through the disorientation of the storm that we might find new places our souls crave. One of the most important books in the Bible, the Psalms, are full of people trying faithfully to weather the waves of life, navigate the seas of each day. In fact, Martin Luther once said that the Psalter "might be called a little Bible. In it is comprehended most beautifully and briefly everything that is in the entire Bible"
The Psalms are raw and real with emotions like anger and frustration and questioning. When the psalm cries out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me,” we can hear the anguish of someone whose life is being tossed to and fro. When the Psalmist writes, “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?” Or how about, “ I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all my foes.”
None of those words are about a life of smooth sailing on glassy sea. None of those words are about your chin up, keeping calm, carrying on because the sun will come out tomorrow. Those are heartfelt and honest words about the restlessness of trying to navigate through a storm and surging seas that don’t seem to stop. Those are words that won’t be read in monotone voice we so often read scripture in church. They are to be shouted out to the universe or whispered because you don’t have the strength to go on. They might be said with stomping our feet while our fingers form fists of frustration or as we are curled up in a puddle of exhaustion.
But make no mistake about it, the psalms are passionate prayer for navigating the world…not glossing over the storms but facing them. Maybe the point isn’t only to find equilibrium every single minute of every single day…but also finding ways to move through the waves crashing down.
What storms are surging on the seas of life right now?
Where are those words of the psalmist your words?
Do you hear any trace of God’s grace in the midst of this?
For me, the reality that God not only accepts such words, but hears them as a prayer offers me a reminder that I am not the first person to be sailing through the rough waters of life and invites me to offer my whole heart to One who is in the boat with me.
May your prayers this day speak out with courage and conviction to the One whose presence surrounds and sustains us.