The Roar of Many Waters

This week’s post is by Ashley Bowie, a dramatic sort of person who needs dramatic reminders about things.

I hauled my sack of bones to the beach last weekend. It really felt that way too. I was weary, confused, sad, and angry. I went to the Olympic coast where the waves are unimpeded by the islands, and I let the crashing of the waves fill my heart and still my soul. Does that sound dramatic? Maybe it was a little bit, but the world is a mess and getting messier, and no one has any solutions.

I was sitting there in my tent, watching the waves, listening to their penetrating roar, and praying that God would just help my heart, and suddenly the peace that passes all understanding found me.

Revelation 1:14-15 “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.”

I don’t know how recently you have sat on the beach or near a rushing river, but let me delight you with a little drama. You park your car at the end of a long line of cars facing a thick wall of trees you can’t see more than a few feet into. “Great” you think, “the beach will be crowded and I won’t get any peace and quiet.” But you haul your stuff out of the car anyway and head into the woods. The trees are quiet, the soft forest floor muffles your steps and that smell, what is it? It’s wood and salt, green ferns and ageless evergreen. Things start slipping away and you don’t notice. The careless words spoken to you, the careless words you’ve spoken, fade. Life might be sad, but it’s also beautiful. You breathe deep and exhale in a staggered sigh. Then you see it, as the trees thin and you begin a descent to the shore, there it is, the wide open sea. You catch your breath and practically run to get there faster. Pitch a tent, kick off your shoes, run for the tide and return their stares with smiles. Families, couples, children and photographers dot the shore line and they all seem to be talking, but you can’t hear them. The crashing of the waves is consuming, overwhelming and deeply comfortable. It’s undeniable, those rushing roaring waves produce an exhilarating calm.

So much of life is what you choose. The parade of endless anger, prejudice and hate will always be there because we live among fallen men. The struggle between your flesh and spirit is not going to end until we reach heaven. There will always be a battle in the making or a battle we are fighting. But there will also always be the voice of God. His consuming, overwhelming, comforting roar will always be there to hear if you will listen.

I’m not suggesting that we tune out the world, or ignore the problems of our generation. I am saying that the voice of God is louder, stronger and all together pure. Nothing will calm your heart like He can. The problems of the world will come, and we can offer solutions, and fight for social justice and do our best to make the world better. But if we aren’t careful, the world can be overwhelming.

Romans 8:5-6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

I really needed the reminder that God’s voice is like the roar of many waters; consuming all other noise, and drowning out the superfluous demands for attention. It was a call for me to set my mind on the Spirit, to keep His voice near to me and let Him be the one who sorts my thoughts and gives weight to the priorities in my life.

You don’t need the open ocean or a mighty river to feel that overwhelming peace. You just need the Spirit of God. I want to remember the next time I’m feeling overwhelmed by life, that the Spirit of God is in me, that His voice will consume the noise and give me peace.