Do you ever feel like life was getting too deep to stand or the water was over your head? I think all of us do at some time or other if we will be honest. I know some who would never admit that they need help in anything. I generally have come to recognize denial, arrogance or fear possibly operating in such people.
I must admit with increasing frequency that I recognize that a situation is too much for me. For the first 40 years of my life I just ran or escaped from the difficult trial or temptation. This meant falling into an aberrant response like over exercise or alcohol to numb it. Often as a result I believe that I missed the opportunity to grow in the trial and to receive the blessings or lessons that God wanted me to learn in them. James said, “Consider it pure joy when you come into trials of diverse kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance which must finish its work so that I you may mature and complete lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). I have written previously that this is a tough verse, for who likes trials? No one does, but they are a major thread of life and a theme of the Bible. God is working through us in these trials to develop our patience and strength needed for the journey of life.
I’m sure you have heard people say that God won’t give us more than we can handle. I laugh at this thought sometimes, because I believe that with God’s faithful help that we can overcome. However, most folks don’t trust in God’s ways and timing. They just do it on their own. I did that for years without ever praying for God’s assistance in my circumstances. That’s not what He desires of us. God says, “Pray continuously.” He wants to help us through His Holy Spirit in all things. That is not weakness it is wisdom. But many people still do it on their own strength, which will fail in the long run, or not achieve God’s ultimate blessings.
Many trials are like the “Deep Pool” photo by my cousin Douglas F. Frank, taken with a pinhole camera with an extended exposure. This method gives an almost mystical image. In this photo I imagine a rock crevice filled with mist that may be bottomless. How deep is it? You might ask curiously. I don’t know, but it seems unsafe to approach as we might fall in. A vision of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland comes to mind about wild and uncertain things like, “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Rabbit holes can be deep and twisting, leading to the “Mad Hatter.” Life is full of curves, turns and troubling circumstances, some of which we cause ourselves, some not.
So God says, “if anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5-6). But don’t doubt, for a double mind is confused and sprayed around like a wave in the wind. It is hard to stand firm and trust in God, unless you have come to know His faithfulness. Since there will be pools deeper than we can stand we need God and other godly relationships to guide and lead the way into and through deeper waters.
The Psalmist prayed for deliverance from being overcome by the enemy, calling out to God in distress saying, “Deep calls to deep, in the roar of the waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me…Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:7, 11). The Prophet Isaiah also speaking of fear in the face of enemies said to Israel, “Fear not…when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:1,2).
Whatever your deep pool is today, as Corrie ten Boom the Holocaust survivor said, “There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still.”