Psalm 107:1-3,23-32 (NRSV)
Verse 1O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
Verse 2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble
Verse 3and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Verse 23Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;
Verse 24they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.
Verse 25For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
Verse 26They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity;
Verse 27they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits' end.
Verse 28Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;
Verse 29he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Verse 30Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
Verse 31Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
Verse 32Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
One of the things impressed on me by experienced sailors Laurel and Jim was that after port was out of sight, we were completely and utterly on our own. If anything went seriously wrong, no one would ever get to us in time to help.
It is easy to understand the psalmist’s words that in the middle of a storm their “courage melted away” and “at their wit’s end” they finally cried out to the Lord in their distress knowing that there was no other recourse. Why do we so often make God the last resort instead of the beginning?
Certainly the raging seas of the last year remind us that our journey is better served when we don’t wait until we come to the end of our own wits to cry out to God but rather live in God and are open to God being with us and in us all along. And then perhaps we will discover that God can provide a safe haven even in the midst of the storm itself.
Ever-present God, teach us to seek you first and always. Amen.