Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord , his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders. – Psalm 107:23-32
I have been out on the sea a few times in my life. Probably the most memorable experience was a deep sea fishing trip I went on with my dad and father-in-law. We went fishing out of Newport, Oregon. It was intended to be a bonding experience, Unfortunately I spent more time bonding with the side of the boat than those who I intended to bond with on the trip.
We left Newport and all seemed well as we made our way out through the jetty into the Pacific Ocean. I knew something was not quite right as we left the protected channel and the swells seemed to take the boat 10’s of feet up then drop it 10’s of feet when the next trough arrived. The ocean did not look rough but these swells of “mighty water” turned my fishing trip into a stomach evacuation exercise. At one point I can distinctly remember being curled up in the fetal position in the cabin thinking that I would rather die than endure being seasick any longer. Fortunately I did not die and we did eventually make it back to the dock. I was never so glad to step off a boat in my life.
I can totally relate to the “merchants on mighty waters” that this passage is talking about when it says “They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end”. I thought I was at my life’s end! Being seasick was such a helpless feeling, and all because my physical body had lost its equilibrium due to the waves of the “mighty sea”. The Lord brought me out of my physical distress when we arrived back at the dock and I am confident He can do the same when we encounter “soul swells”.
I think many people sometimes feel “soul seasick”. They can lose their equilibrium as the waves and breakers of life rock their soul. I am not sure what the equivalent of vomiting is for our souls, but perhaps it is behaviors and actions that we feel unable to stop or control that are actually harming our souls. Things like addictions to alcohol, pornography, work, social media, or drugs. If we do as this passage recommends and cry out to God I am confident He can “still the storm to a whisper” and hush the pounding waves.
Prayer: God thank You for being there when we experience soul sickness that feels like it may never end.