In a Psalm that begins with a vivid description of a soul desperate for God (‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you O God’ – Ps 42: 1), the psalmist commands his inner being to stay focused on the Lord, and then he says this:
‘Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls’ (Ps 42: 7).
Some commentators have interpreted this as a description of deep and dangerous waters from one source calling on deep trouble from another to unite against the Psalmist in his peril.
This certainly seems to be supported by the second part of verse seven: ‘all your waves and breakers have swept over me’. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions”
The psalmist might have found himself near a rapid river or thundering waterfall and he may have felt that the violent crashing of water on the rocks from all sides somehow mirrored his situation and inner turmoil.
But there is another way to read this.
The Psalmist has turned from addressing his soul to praying to the Lord in verse five, ‘I will remember you’ and he continues with ‘all your waves and breakers have swept over me’. He doesn’t blame God for his troubles, but he does recognise God’s sovereignty and presence, even in the waves and breakers dashing against him. God is not the author of evil, but at the end of the day, the tumultuous waters still belong to Him.
And he interprets it as a call to deeper communion. He doesn’t understand why God is allowing the suffering in his life (see v 9), but he commands his soul to put its hope in God and he makes a conscious decision to worship Him (v 11).
I remember a time when a person was stirring a considerable amount of trouble in a church I was pastoring. I was at my wit’s end. On one particular morning, I could think of nothing to do except worship God, so that’s what I did. The problem wasn’t solved straight away, but something happened in my heart that morning which created a different perspective on the issue. I stopped trying to solve things myself and I put my hope in God.
The deeper the pain or the challenge, perhaps the deeper He draws us into relationship with him – if we are willing. Deep calls… The Sovereign Lord over the trouble gently calls us. Perhaps His whispers can be heard above the cacophony of the crashing waters around us and despite the uncertainty of the situation we find ourselves in.
“Deep waters call out to what is deeper still;
at the roar of your waterfalls” (ISV)
The best is yet to come. God bless – Terry
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