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Waves, Thorns, And Wrestling

Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me (Psalm 42:7).

I want the deep things of God. We all do.

However, Psalm 42 says that deep calls to deep during a storm. Waves breaking over us leads to the deeper things of God.

Many Bible stories reflect trials as the source of depth in our relationship with God. God blessed Jacob with the name Israel, but Jacob first wrestled with God throughout the night… 

Then walked with a limp the rest of his life. 

Paul was taken to the third heaven, saw the indescribable, and heard things that he couldn’t repeat. For his own humility, he received a “thorn in the flesh.”

I don’t think God derives pleasure from our suffering. He does use it to cleanse our deep wounds so that we can enjoy His presence.

Paul writes about the depth of God with a prayer for all of us in Ephesians 3:

That you may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height, and depth (v. 18 ESV).

Another understanding of “deep calls to deep” would be knowing the breadth, length, height, and depth of God. But note what it takes – strength!  

Waves breaking over our heads, wrestling with God, and a thorn in the flesh – do you have the strength? That’s why Paul prayed.

I’ve thought about the suffering of the saints and asked, “Why?” God is love and He has all power. How can a loving and all-powerful God allow us to suffer? Why wasn’t a prayer answered? Why this accident? The reason for that trial?

From my personal experience with waves, thorns, and wrestling, I find through my perseverance in the strength that God brings, a deeper sense of His presence. 

That’s all that I need. No storm, confrontation, or piercing pain can stain my soul with bitterness, anger, or despair while I’m looking at God.

Again, God doesn’t cause pain. But all travail in history is caused by our decisions or the ultimate consequences of the decisions of others. “God is love” creates freewill but the gift of decision seeds rebellion.

God does promise His presence in our storms. When we wrestle to see His purposes, when pride overtakes our success, when we wander into thorns – we can turn and abide in Christ. 

When God’s presence manifests in our hearts, we find victory. We taste and see that God is good and great. That’s peace.

While wrestling with God, Jacob told Him, “I will not let go until You bless me.”

God did bless – Jacob to Israel, Israel to Jesus, Jesus to your salvation.

The limp was a small price to pay.