by Emily Conrad
Water sloshes at my feet. Waves break. A sea stretches deep and wide. And then there’s me, boatless. It doesn’t matter if the water is choppy or calm. Imagine it how you like. Either way, the expanse is uncrossable.
I’ve been gazing at the sea for some time now, and it seems time to move along, to find a way around or away.
My flight instinct is stronger than my fight and certainly more trustworthy than the butterfly stroke of this floundering dreamer.
God, I don’t know how to move forward. Will you show me? Or spirit me away to a new set of circumstances?
The sea is figurative, the desire to run away, less so. The thought crossed my mind that I ought to move to a new state, but that would only solve some of my problems and would create others. So, I knew God was telling me to stay where I was, at the edge of a sea I cannot cross on my own.
I guess I’m stuck here. At least beauty is in view—I do love water.
But then, as I met with God the morning of a writer’s conference, I felt as though He’d highlighted a verse for me.
“Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters” Psalm 77:19, ESV
At the conference, we sang a song that also talked about walking through the sea.
And the Psalm for my reading the next day (78) also talked about crossing the sea.
His way for me is through this sea, not around it. Obstacles as hard to handle as water, which slips through my fingers and would fill my lungs, are at His command. What appears to me to be an uncrossable boundary is a hidden path to freedom. It is His way, a miracle future generations will reference as a sign of His loving care and His provision. If I run, I’ll miss it all. Instead, I must continue, trusting that when I get there, the path beneath my feet will be dry.
His way is through, not around.
The verses leading up to 19 put God’s power into more context:
You delivered your people by your strength
the children of Jacob and Joseph. (Selah)
The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and trembled.
Yes, the depths of the sea shook with fear.
The clouds poured down rain;
the skies thundered.
Yes, your arrows flashed about.
Your thunderous voice was heard in the wind;
the lightning bolts lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook. Psalm 77:15-18, NET
He is powerful to deliver, and powerful over the natural realm.
As if to hammer home that He had indeed meant verse 19 for me, that He does indeed intend to lead me through the sea, on my way home from the conference, He put on quite a light show.
Storms tracked with us, maybe fifty or a hundred miles to our south as we drove across the state. While stars shown above our minivan, to our right, mountain ranges of clouds flashed with non-stop lightening. First one cloud, then another. A glowing cloud, then another cut by distinct ribbons of light. It moved quickly, mesmerizing, each time beautiful, as if someone were shining a flashlight from side to side in an attic full of the work of old masters, illuminating one masterpiece and then another.
I didn’t even try to take a picture or a video. How could a little phone screen capture the power of the almighty God?
His arrows flash about. His lightning lights the world.
If you stand with your toes in the waves, if the far shore is lost in fog, if the whitecaps shush your dreams, rest assured. The sea will not beat you. The God who tends the storehouses of heaven can calm the waves with His word. He is the parter of seas. His way is not around or away from these troubles, but through.