We’d hiked to our favorite spot on the beach. It was an isolated stretch on the island that tapered to an inlet a few hundred yards away. We often came to this remote spot late in the day, where the water rounded under the bridge and swept into the ocean.
I leaned on my elbows and watched my husband Dan wade the shallows with his cast net, part of it anchored in his mouth and the rest draped heavily over his arm. He walked slowly, watching for signs of mullet, then he would throw out the net in a wide circle and drag it back in.
I relaxed on the soft sand, keeping a close eye on our toddler who was playing in the knee-high water nearby. I was grateful for a lazy wrap-up to our beach day. And then, just like that, my son took one step too far and transitioned from the shallows to the deep.
I saw the fear in his eyes as the water reached his nose. He struggled to find his footing. I jumped up and splashed through the water, grabbing him by the arm just as he went under completely. I swung him up out of the water, carried him back to the beach, and wrapped his sun-warmed towel around him. I held him close.
It’s incredible how life can be so sunny, relaxing, and fun, and then in a moment, everything changes. Have you been there? In a place where you suddenly found yourself up to your eyeballs in the deep waters of life? Perhaps even now, it feels like the water is closing over your head, and you aren’t sure if you’ll ever get to shore again.
Take a breath and know that, just as I was watching my son, God is watching you. He hasn’t taken His eyes off you. Even when it feels like the deep waters are lapping around you, God sees you.
Psalm 18:16 says, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.”
David sang Psalm 18 to the Lord. He had been anointed the future king of Israel, but for years he’d been running for his life, trying to stay one step ahead of Saul, the current king who was out to kill him. But when David cried out to God, God reached down, took hold of him, and delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, including Saul.
Psalm 18:16 says that God “drew” him out of deep waters. That word is used only one other time in the Bible, in Exodus 2:10, where it refers to Pharaoh’s daughter, who “drew” Moses out of the water. His parents had placed him in a basket and set him in the Nile River to keep the Egyptians from killing him.
When on the run from Saul, David must have felt like he was in dangerously deep waters. Surely, Moses’ parents must have worried for their baby in the basket, who was in the deep, too. But both times, God was in complete control—of the water and of the one in the water. And both times, He rescued them.
I am currently praying for several dear friends who are treading deep waters. I’ve also cried out in faith over my own family on many occasions. Maybe you’re praying this kind of desperate prayer right now.
As you do, remember: the depth of the water is not a measure of God’s love. No matter how deep it gets, no matter how rough it seems, no matter how hard the struggle, our circumstances are never the measure of God’s love for us.
God’s love is measured in this: while we were dead in our sin, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He gave His life for ours.
Why would He do that? Well, God rescues us because He delights in us (Psalm 18:19).
God delights in us so much that He reached down from on high and took hold of us while we were drowning in sin. He drew us out of the deep waters of darkness that would have covered us for all eternity. And then, He set our feet on Jesus, the Solid Rock, and wrapped us in that Son-warmed righteousness.
The measure of God’s love is the mercy of God’s rescue.