When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2
The power of this promise makes little sense if I fail to understand the sinister nature of water in scripture. It’s hard to see the sea as something negative if I love the beach and the sound of waves lapping up on shore. But to the ancient Jew, the sea meant something else entirely It was a symbol for something ominous and life-threatening. In Semitic mythology, a sea monster was synonymous with chaos and evil. With that in mind, these verses paint a more complete picture.
- Isaiah said that the wicked were like a tossing sea. Isaiah 57:20
- A psalmist said that God divided the sea by His might and broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. Psalm 74:13-14
- David said that God’s vicious waves had swept over him like an angry ocean. Psalm 42:7
- And in John’s revelation, it’s most interesting that the Beast arises from the sea. (Revelation 13)
When God promises to accompany me through the waters, it is clear that He goes with me into the deepest chaos, evil, turbulence, and even death. God doesn’t promise to take me around the sea, to keep me on dry land. Just like the days we are living now, we find ourselves in deep waters. The darkness is thick, life-threatening, and it’s comforting to be assured that we’re not alone.
Think about it. How very fitting that Jesus walked on water! The symbol of that is not lost on me. He was not overcome by evil, not knocked around by the chaos of the waves, not swallowed up by the deep. In the worst of storms, he walked on the waves. Calmly, with no need to yell, He spoke to His disciples. His voice penetrated the roar of the storm.
It makes me think of Ephesians 1 and I Corinthians 15. “And He put all things under His feet.” There is no evil He has not conquered. There is no virus He cannot heal. There is no chaos He can not order. There is no life, for a saint, that will not triumph in life – and in death. Through all the passages of life, often with the roar of the waves in my ears, my Captain is not afraid. Everything, no matter how ominous, is subject to His authority.
You are Lord over all the elements and I am never out of Your care. Amen