These last several days with this infernal rain have been agonizing ones for me. I’m normally a person who takes the weather as it comes, but the amount of rain we’ve received over the last week or so has somehow managed to get the best of me. Part of it may be my weariness over our recent move from one house to another, with all of the subsequent transitional matters that come along with it, most of which seems to have occurred in the rain. But part of it may be my having reached a stage in life where I’m becoming more aware of how so very many things seem no longer to be under my control as they once did and the inevitable exasperation such awareness brings. In other words, my frustration with the weather is just the tip of the iceberg for something much more significant going on under the surface of my soul.
As I’ve been praying over my edginess, I’ve been helped by revisiting what it means to believe. Too much of the time we associate belief with head knowledge, but according to the Scriptures it really has more to do with an abandonment of our need to be in charge of our existence. Instead of anxiously clinging to the wheel of life, we “let go and let God.”
The classic illustration of this abandonment comes from Soren Kierkegaard, the 19th Century Danish philosopher and theologian, famous for his radical understanding of how Christian faith should influence everyday life. Kierkegaard, no doubt drawing on the gospel story of Simon Peter’s attempts to walk on the water in order to get to Jesus (Matthew 14:22-34), emphasizes how faith is trusting in the buoyancy of God while trying to float in seventy thousand fathoms of water. Of course, no ocean is that deep, but Kierkegaard’s point is clear. If we are fearful and struggle to stay in control in an immeasurably deep body of water, we will sink and drown. But if we instead trust that the water will keep us up, then we will float. Ironically, that’s one of the first lessons people have to learn in order to swim, and also the most difficult. They have to fight the urge to thrash in the water so that they can relax in the power of the water to keep them afloat.
In the midst of all this rainy weather that makes you wonder if we’re not all going to wash away, I’ve chosen to own my exasperation as a sort of spiritual discipline. As I’ve found my stress level rising and my frustration setting in with all this soppy weather, I’ve decided to step back, settle down, and trust God to be in control. I invite you to join me in that journey of faith where, as the Psalmist says, “deep calls to deep” (Psalm 42:7). Then we will be trusting in the very Sea of Being, the one in whom we ultimately live and move and have our being, both now and forevermore.
“We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).