To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? (Isaiah 40:18)

Will You Play It Safe–or Will You Take on the Ocean?

Sunday Scripture

God is the ocean, and we keep writing about a cup of water.”

Charlie Peacock, musician and producer

One cannot be too careful about one’s reading material, especially at thirty thousand feet where confined airplane space and a four hour flight leave plenty of room for pondering a powerful metaphor.

“God is the ocean, and we keep writing about a cup of water.”

I hear the challenge in this statement , but the ocean is large and turbulent.

It misbehaves, ebbs and flows according to its own timetable–not mine.

The ocean will not be corraled.

How much easier it is to deal with water contained in a cup.

I can hold it in my hand.

I can see it all at once:
flavor it with tea;
control the temperature;
drink it if I please
or dump it down the drain.

Truly, God, you are the ocean,
immeasurable in breadth,
unfathomable in depth.

Isaiah’s elegant prose presses in with the question:
“To whom then will you liken God,
    or what likeness compare with him?”
Incomparable you are, LORD–dangerous and yet delightful.

In our making and our moving,
In our living and our leading,
Give us courage, Lord, to choose the salty splash in the face
And the faithful rhythm of your tide.

Amen

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Cup of water photo by Manu Schwendener on Unsplash
Ocean photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

36 thoughts on “Will You Play It Safe–or Will You Take on the Ocean?”

  1. This is beautiful, Michele. May I not settle for just the glass when the Lord is offering the ocean, the fullness of Himself.

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  2. Too easily, we make the mistake of thinking we can contain God, but He is vast beyond imagining. The next time I’m tempted to think I understand Him, I’ll recall the image of the ocean.
    Blessings, Michele!

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    1. We say that we want to “experience God,” but the reality is that we want him to enter our boundaries and to act in ways that we approve of. We forget all about his transcendence!

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  3. I’ve always loved the sea, to the point of obsession. When I was little my dad taught me to never turn my back on the ocean because of our coast’s “sneaker waves.” Oh, I could come up with so many ocean metaphors for God but my favorite is the old song-“Like a mighty sea, Like a mighty sea, comes the love of Jesus sweeping over me…”

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  4. Lovely, Michele! With you I want to choose the salty splash in the face of God’s presence and the faithful rhythm of his tide, ministering steadiness and power to my spirit. Like the ocean, he is also full of surprises and excitement. (Note to self: You won’t find that in a glass of water!)

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  5. This is beautiful and so challenging! And exactly God’s word to me for this new season – to look out to sea, and to trust in His limitless power to protect, and even to still the strongest storm, to look at the horizon and the vastness of our God! Thank you for your inspirational words, so encouraging!

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  6. Great quote, and I love your reflections on it! It is easy to shrink our image of God to something that seems understandable and safe rather than pressing in to discover more of who he really is.

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  7. Ahhh, Michele. As I read your words, I kept thinking about the beavers’ description of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He’s not a tame lion. And our God is not a God who will be controlled by our desires. Otherwise, how could He be God? Thank you for the reminder to ponder the bigness of our God and to take comfort in the fact that He is so immense and yet so intimate.

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    1. It’s terribly intimidating to think about, but so much more sensible to follow God for who he is rather than requesting and dealing with some small measure of his greatness. We don’t get to pick and choose his attributes.

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  8. What a beautiful contrast, the ocean, wild and untamable, teeming with life and power, and a glass of water, contained and measured. And Jesus is the living water who invites us to drink and His Spirit will become a fountain in us. How incomprehensible is our God and yet He makes Himself known. Thank you, Michele.

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  9. Love this analogy! While the cup of water is safe – it’s not nearly as beautiful as the ocean. May we feast on His beauty and trust in His goodness – even when it doesn’t look safe.

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  10. Michele, I so enjoyed how thought-provoking this post is, as well as how accurate. It has really made me even ore aware of the times I have ‘made our God too small’ to paraphrase Doug Horley’s song. It’s also hugely comforting. God created the universe – He can definitely get us through a pandemic. Thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party community.

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