Of Waves and Raindrops

This from an article I wrote in response to a writing prompt: {blue water:  destructive and nurturing}.  How do I think about God?


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Water is a curious thing.

Little taste, little smell, but absolutely essential to our existence.  According to science, our bodies are about 60% water.  In this world, life cannot exist without it – whether it’s as small as the houseplant that dies when I forget to water it, or a barrenness as staggering as the Sahara Desert.

And because we need it so desperately, water is a beautiful thing, a nourishing thing.  That’s why we love gurgling streams, oases in the desert, dew-spangled spider webs, and raindrops on roses.  That’s why a sip of cold water on a hot day is such a romanticized picture.  We are created to need water and find it lovely.

But what about the other side of water?  The terrifying side?  There are floods that destroy.   There are storms – rain that lashes down in torrents.  And there are waves – towers of blue water rising higher and higher, counting down the seconds to crush you.

Water is a strange thing.  Destructive and nourishing – two sides that seem so opposite.  Do I love it or fear it?  Am I indebted to it, or am I its plaything?

Is this how I think of God?

I am wired – by Him – to need Him.  As Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”  He alone has the words of eternal life.

But this is the God who rained fire and sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah.  This is the God who can condemn us to eternal damnation.

How is He different than water – nourishing or destructive at its whim?

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God isn’t water.

There is something else to Him besides sheer power.  Water is impersonal.  Water couldn’t care less if you it saved your life or took it.  Water is not safe.  It can be (and often is) beneficial.  But it is not good.

On the contrary, God’s steadfast love endures forever.  C.S. Lewis wrapped this truth beautifully in fiction when he wrote of Aslan:

Safe?” said Mr. Beaver…. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

And how do we know He is good?  God has not just said that He is good.  He has proved it and is still proving it.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Ultimate love is proven in ultimate sacrifice.

It is simple.  So terribly simple.  But yet so contradictory to my own desire to be in control of everything that, oftener than not, I try to shy away from it.  It is an idea and a Person beyond what I can hold in my own two hands.

But why does this matter? 

What difference does it make to know that God is not an impersonal ruler with absolute power?  Does the fact that God is both powerful and personal actually change what I’m going to do tomorrow?

     It changes my quiet times.  If God is personal, praying is not just talking in hope that someday He might decide to get back to me.  Reading my Bible is reading words written for me to learn from, and not just a book of nice things to know.  And if He is powerful, my quiet time is not just about me getting the warm fuzzies that I wanted from it.  It’s about me being quiet and listening to what He wants to teach me.  He is God, and I am not.  It makes my quiet time about a Person – an all-powerful Person – Who wants to build a relationship.  That needs to change how I think.

     It changes my relationships.  A personal God Who purposefully relates to me should be an incredible example of how I should relate to others.  Mercy, patience, compassion, forgiveness – I should be inspired to reflect these characteristics in my relationships with the people around me.  Do I strive to imitate Him with my friends?  With my siblings?  With my parents?  If He, the all-powerful Ruler of the Universe, would do this with me, the human whose sin meant His death, how much more should I do this with others?

     It changes how I work.  If God doesn’t care, why should my attitude about what I do matter?  Why shouldn’t I cut corners when I’m short on time?  Why shouldn’t I snap at my roommate or my sister when I’m doing my homework?  Why shouldn’t my room be the definition of disorder 95% of the time?  If no one is holding me accountable, it doesn’t matter.  But He does care.  He is a personal God.  He is good.  And He is holding me accountable.  My attitude needs to reflect what He has done and is doing in my life.  If that doesn’t change how I approach work, I don’t understand what He did.

Basically, it changes everything.

This is the gospel.  God, Who is holy, all-powerful, and righteous, should have justly destroyed us because we are sinful, rebellious worms.  He created our hearts to be restless apart from Him, but our sin has made a separation between us.  But He sent Christ to pay the price, to bridge the gap, that we might live through Him.

Knowing Who God is makes all the difference in the world.

This is what Hosea writes about it:

 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has stuck us down, and He will bind us up.  After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him.

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

The spring rains that water the earth.  He uses the same picture, but He gives it so much more power in Himself.

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4 thoughts on “Of Waves and Raindrops

  1. Nancy

    What a unique comparison. Allows me another way to contemplate a relationship with God through the everyday, common elements of the world He created. He is truly found in everything once we open our eyes to see Him.
    Thank you for this insight!

    Liked by 1 person

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