My brother is a walking billboard for what cool looks like. He lives in Austin, cool. Loves to surf, cool. People are literally drawn to his personality. He commands a room with his unassuming but brilliantly stated thoughts, most of which are completed with some kind of wit and humor, generating a response of hysterical laughter. He’s an amazing Father. Cool, cool, cool. He’s also sporting several tattoos. Double cool. I can’t even work up the courage to get the nose piercing I’ve been pondering, but he’s like, “permanent? Yeah, right here.” And pulls up his sleeve.
My favorite tattoo of his says: “deep calls to deep,” based on Psalm 42. Read the whole thing if you have a second, but here’s a snippet:
“My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon — from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me…”
— Psalm 42:6-8a (emphasis mine)
In our deepest moments we need a God who can meet us there. The enormity of life’s asks call for immense capacity. Sometimes more than we have to give. Deep calls to deep.
I spent several years lifeguarding at a public water park. The most frequent rescues were offered in an area just past the zero depth entry. Shallow waters are perceivably safe, but the slow and sometimes surprising decline of the floor’s support often turned a happy child into one donning eyes wide with panic.
Life doesn’t always allow you the choice to stay in the shallow end. And while the deep end of the pool certainly contributes toward making you a better swimmer, that’s not what I mean here. I’m talking about the undertow. Something that tosses you around and confuses your sense of direction; inciting panic and not unknown to kill even the most seasoned swimmer. Undertows are scary. Lifeguards are helpful.
We do not get to control everything. And even when we do have that luxury, we don’t always produce masterful work. Most of us know the feeling of our souls being downcast, don’t we? How deep are your sorrows? How deep is the water you are treading and how desperately do you look for deliverance? Deep sorrows require a deep capacity to meet us in that place with promise of hope. Not every promise of rescue is worthy or capable. Deep calls to deep.
“In proportion to your tribulations shall be your consolations! If you have shallow sorrows, you shall receive shallow graces; but if you have deep afflictions, you shall obtain the deeper proof of the faithfulness of God.” — Charles Spurgeon
Interestingly, Psalm 42 states “in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” In this instance, the deep calling to deep is one where God’s own immense waves have swept over the writer. Interesting, because even in our greatest need for something powerful to handle us we can immerse ourselves in the immense. When we allow him to wash over us we are taken in by his love and his strength. What a refuge! Deep calls to deep.
There are watery depths that have yet to be discovered and properly navigated. There is one who created the curves and cracks of the ocean floor and filled the sea with teaming life… as immense as our oceans boast they came about with but a word. The depths of our troubles are not too far from his reach. It is out of love that he is drawn to offer us a refuge and a hope. He longs to meet us in our deep places, write a new song, and no one else is more capable of coming through in ways we might never have known we needed.
If you are undergoing deep waters in life right now, remember this: deep calls to deep. There is one who longs to meet you there and draw you into the refuge of his strength.