Gettin’ in the Deep Water

Calvin Miller once wrote that “deep” is not a destination, it is what we become as we intently pursue God. Do you find yourself searching for a a deeper life in Christ?  Let’s take a look at some verses that will help in your search. Let’s go deep.

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

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26

After reading these verses you might wonder where the connecting point between them rests. It’s not clear at first, but you will begin to see how crucial the Psalms are to growing deeper.

It’s cold and windy outside here, so grab a cup of coffee or hot tea, and make your nest so that we can take a few moments to open up these verses. Afterward, you will have inched toward the deep.

Psalm 42:7 whispers something intriguing: “Deep calls to deep…” Herein lies the grace, power, and beauty of the Psalms. They communicate God’s industrial-grade truth in winsome ways. Because the Psalms are written as Hebrew poetry they are not meant to be read like a newspaper, recipe, or textbook. The Psalms teach us through images, metaphor, and parallels, and they should be read that way. The grand truths in the psalms are not always straightforward, but, they are not hidden either. They are meant to be digested, not devoured; taken in small sips, and pondered. More on this later.

Paul reveals a truth in 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 that can move us  miles ahead. He tells us that we cannot understand the spiritual truths of God’s Word through human means or methods. Rather, they are taught by the Holy Spirit of God. So, we are to stop trying to do it our way, or on our own, and surrender to God’s way of understanding — reliance upon His Spirit. In summary, only God can create depth in us, and He does it by teaching His Word by His Spirit.

This point is taken even further in Romans 8:26. The handle to grasp onto in this verse is that there are many parts of the truths of God, our walk with God, and being in prayer to God that are not get-ahold-able. Paul says that God’s Spirit intercedes for us with groanings that are “too deep for words.” Bingo! Now we are getting somewhere. In fact, we are there and do not even know it.

Another verse to compound your confusion on this — which, I promise will soon turn to clarity:

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” Psalm 139:6

That’s it! Much of what God will teach us is beyond us, beyond our comprehension, and must be brought to our hearts and minds. And — here is the unsettling part — it is not done so in short bursts or single-line solutions. It is done in ways that will cause us to see before we can know.

Enter the Psalms. The Psalms are hymns that were sung, and were written like poetry that is prayer, or prayer that is poetic, whichever you prefer. The grandeur of the Psalms is that they are the intersection of truth and life. In fact, most everything that you will encounter and experience in life is covered in the Psalms. It is covered with honesty; it is where the beauty of God meets the bluntness of life. The richness of the Psalms is poured into the poverty of our souls and lives slowly, and through words, images, and phrases that make us ponder, and pray, and pray about what we are pondering. This is why you find the Hebrew word, “Selah” — which means to pause and think — all over the Psalms. It’s the only appropriate response to them.

Now let’s connect the bones that we have assembled with a single ligament of truth. The deep things of God are often shown to us, not told to us. Those “showings” of truth run deep throughout the Psalms. If you want to grow deeper, launch out into the Psalms. That is where deep calls to deep, deep shows depth, deep builds depth. That is also where you will find that your handy maps and homemade instruments cannot navigate the waters or storms, only God’s Spirit can and will (1 Cor. 2:12-13). That is where you will pray and ponder in grunts and groaning that words cannot describe, and where you will see word pictures and truths high above you in the starry sky. That is where God will show you, and you will see, and then know, and then be … deeper. That is where in the black of night that you will sense Jesus’ calming the waves in your life, soothing the hurts of your life, scrubbing sin out of your life, and see Him as the radiant Light of life. You will first sense and see, then you will know, then you will grow.

Blessed is the one who sets sail into the Psalms.

The deep is calling. Refill your cup of coffee, turn to the Psalms, let go of the rope that holds you to the harbor, and set sail … it’s deep out there.

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