"Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts…”
Are you using your Bingeworthy Devotional? Each week, scriptures are taken from the section of the Bible we discussed on Sunday to provide daily reflection. The reason we offered this is to help us not only learn about the Bible and make better sense of it, but to experience God speaking through it. This is why Wesley said, “I am a man of one book,” and lived to “spread scriptural holiness.” He wanted people to experience the transforming power of scripture. It still works!
Take today’s reading. Psalm 137 comes from those exiled Jews who were carted off to Babylon. They hung their harps on the trees. They sat by the river and wept. They asked how one can sing songs of praise in a foreign land. The reason this experience was so formative in their history is because it led to a major spiritual breakthrough. In a time when the gods of a religion were believed to dwell only in the land where that god was worshipped, the Exile created a faith crisis. Out of that crisis they learned that in the most despairing times of life God comes to them.
Psalm 42 captures this truth. Perhaps recalling the cataract sounds of splitting glaciers on Mt. Hermon, the author writes, “Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts.” In a sermon titled, “When Life Reaches Its Depths,” Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote: “Every serious life has that experience where the profundities within ask for an answering profundity. No longer do the shallows suffice. Life within faces an answering deep. So when deep calls unto deep and the deep replies, we face the essential experience of (faith).”
Fosdick goes on to say that the experiences of life in the depths is the basis of true religion. He knew something of which he talked about. When he was a young man he felt no hope for his life. He went home one day, went upstairs to his bathroom, and took out a razor planning to take his life. He heard his father’s voice downstairs calling his name, asking, “Son, are you alright?” Fosdick said he heard his father's words, but suddenly it was like his heavenly father was reaching out to him. He put down the razor and went about making sense of his depths realizing God was with him.
This led to his going into ministry. He became the pastor of Riverside Church in New York, one of the most prominent churches in America. People filled the pews every Sunday to hear him speak. Why? Because he was able to relate to their depths and offer a word of hope.
The glories of life are always nice, but our faith is discovered in the depths. And what we discover is something deep that calls back and lifts us up.
Have a great weekend!