Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Moment: Paths of the Seas

Where does understanding dwell?
It cannot be found in the land of the living.
The deep says, 'It is not in me';
the sea says, 'It is not with me.'
[But] God understands the way to it
and He alone knows where it dwells,
for He views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
-Job 28:12-14, 23-24

We were only at sea a few hours when I made my way to the deck and leaned over the ship's railing. Blue. It was blue... blue, blue, blue... as far as I could see. The air was wet. My breath was heavy with water. I drank in what I could and then closed my eyes and breathed in the rest. The ship sailed on and on, slicing its way through the rippling water. I watched as waves churned and parted and then slid back in place, leaving no trace of where we'd just been.

It was, to be honest, a rough ride. Gripping the railing once more, I strained my eyes out over the water and prayed. "Lord, I don't see Your path right now," I whispered. "I can't see where You're taking me. I'm feeling a little lost at sea these days, Lord. Don't lose me. Don't let me drown during this time of questioning. Don't let me go."

The water lapped up the sides of the ship and on we sailed.

Later, as friends and I piled onto the deck to eat dinner, we noticed the water in our glasses bouncing and jiggling. The waiter, quick to assure us, mentioned something about the how-many-ever knot winds we were sailing into, and how the sea path would soon even it all out.

The sea path...

I'll never forget the day I learned of Matthew Maury. Do you know his story? He's credited with discovering the Gulf Stream in the 1860s. The story, as I know it to be, was that pioneer oceanographer Maury stumbled upon Psalms 8:8 one day and carefully read about "whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas". He was immediately curious. Were there "paths" in the sea? If so, where were they? What were they for?

Maury met with his fellow "oceanographers". I want to find these paths, he must have said. But they thought he was crazy. They encouraged him to redirect his efforts into something more productive. No, he said, I believe God put paths in the sea ... that He made paths for us there... and I'm going to find them.

Maury began studying and sailing and soon found a path in the sea that connects North America with Europe. It's 50 miles wide, 3,000 feet deep, and travels at a rate of 140 miles per hour. Ships now use it to save travel time. God had placed paths in the sea, and a seeking Matthew Maury found one.

As I remembered Matthew Maury, suddenly it was all there, a rushing tidal wave through my heart: "Don't lose me, Lord." ... The paths of the sea... Where does understanding dwell? God understands the way to it.... It splashed through my mind at once, and with it a surge of assurance. I returned to the same place on that deck and looked down, down, down into the sea and prayed once again. "Lord, I can't see your path, and can't find any understanding here in this land of the living, but I'll trust You that it's there. I'll lean on the hope that somewhere under this deep sea of longing and questioning and wondering, You've placed a path for me. And as You see everything under the heavens, Lord, see me. Don't forget to see me."

I arrived back to the table in just enough time to hear the waiter say that the ship had settled in, and we were in for a great night at sea. A peaceful night sailing the paths of the sea.

We were. It was.

God only knows where you are, but I suppose I write all this to say this: we aren't meant to understand. We're meant to believe. Faith is daring ourselves to go where our eyes can't see. And we can't expect understanding to come easy here... here in this land of the living. But God... our loving Father... He holds our lives. He holds it all. Before we ask our questions He has our answers. Before we word our prayers He's heard our cries. And as we drift over our deep, deep seas of emotion or grief or doubt or difficulties, He sees our seas and knows the paths He's buried in them.

I believe it. I truly do. And I know He's watching and loving us as we travel our own paths of the seas.

Monday Moment is a litle devotional to help kick start your week. See you again next Monday!


Becky K. said...

I was so thrilled when I first read that passage in Psalms about paths through the sea. It is so fabulous that God gave us this proof that only a Creator would have known at that time.
Thanks for sharing that story and the beautiful pictures.
May you find your way!
Becky K.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm going to learn to read your post when I'm at home so I don't sit here at my desk, at work, crying. Thank you so much for a wonderful scripture and reminder of a great God that I trust in.


Anonymous said...

I love this. It is beautifully insightful...

That Girl said...

Hey Brin,
Thanks again for such a timely reminder. Truly, who is it who can fathom the depths of His wisdom? Your post reminds me of a favorite verse, 2 Cor. 5:7: "We walk by faith, not by sight."
Blessings as you trust the Navigator...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Monday Moment, Brin...that's what it all is about..FAITH!
Did you feel somewhat like Peter when the seas were rough??

Vee said...

I'm listening to Jim Brickman's "If You Believe" right now...

Brin, I have read every word that you've written since you began writing this blog. (It took quite a chunk of time and I found myself wanting to be holding your blog in my hands. You know what I mean?) I marvel at the things you say and how beautifully you say them. God has given you a wonderful talent and I can't help but think that you are destined for some big, really big, writing adventures.

I'm so glad that you're back from vacation. These Monday Moments are incredible. Got to run before I ramble on any longer...

Anonymous said...

I would love to be able to share this Monday Moment at a mini retreat for a few friends and me this weekend, at Lake Tahoe. I believe it would speak to their hearts (and mine) sweetly, and set the right tone for the weekend.

May I have permission to do that?

Thank you in advance, for whatever your decision.


Unknown said...

welcome back! It looks like you had a good time! Nice to see you trying to relax a bit. Welcome back my blog friend!

Adrienne said...

Thank you for sharing this. The sea is a bit rough here at the moment. The waters ahead uncertain but there is peace just knowing that the Captain is in charge and He will safely bring us to harbor. ~Adrienne~

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Thank you for another beautiful Monday moment from a beautiful young woman!

Minnesota Kathi :-)