Seasickness, and the Glorious Certitude of God

Certainty is hard to come by in the world today.

Health? Uncertain.

Family? Uncertain.

Career? Uncertain.

School? Don’t even get me started.

It can feel a little bit like being on a small boat in the middle of the ocean. The waves aren’t massive; they’re not going to capsize you. At the same time, though, even those small breakers play havoc with your equilibrium. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Over and over again until the queasiness that starts in the soles of your feet makes its way up to your stomach. You are nauseous with uncertainty, and every fiber of your being starts to cry out for stability. For something rock solid on which to stand.

Once upon a time, I thought I had an iron stomach until I found myself on a literal small boat in the middle of a literal big ocean. And though the trip out into the bay started out fine, it only took about an hour until I was chumming the fish over the side of the boat with everything in my guts. And then the seasoned fisherman who was with me told me to pick out a fixed point on the horizon – in this case, it happened to be an oil derrick, and fix my eyes there. Slowly, my stomach went right side up even in the middle of instability.

See, my seasickness wasn’t the result of a queasy stomach; it was the result of my equilibrium which is not a tummy issue, but an ear issue. You might say my true problem was actually between my ears. But such is life, right?

So, too, do we find the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah, the doomsdayer of his day, felt the flux around him. In a context of sloshy-morality and iffy-commitment, he was the bearer of the promise of God’s judgment. And the people hated him for it. The waves came up and down around him and he, too, was no doubt seasick from the motion. But he fixed his eyes on what was stable. What was permanent. In that atmosphere of constant flux there is a great word of glorious certitude from the prayer of the prophet Jeremiah:

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me, and I will be saved, for You are my praise (Jeremiah 17:14).

Can you feel it? No sloshing waves here. Instead, there is the rock solid confidence that when God does something it is done. When He speaks it is accomplished. When He acts it is irreversible. Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed. Case closed.

Oh, how it speaks to my soul. How it calms my thoughts. How it comforts my heart. Save me, and I will be saved. Period.

I am wondering today, in the midst of all the cultural and circumstantial uncertainty, in the midst of feeling that sense of nausea that comes when everything around you feels like it’s moving – what are you looking at? Where are your eyes fixed? Look at the glorious certitude of our God and feel your spiritual equilibrium return. Pick a stable point on the horizon, and fix your eyes there:

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne (Hebrews 12:1-2).

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