A Drop in the Ocean

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1, NIV

I am a daughter of the Word, blessed with competency to work with words, unable to find appropriate words to speak of the beautiful Word.

I’m a writer; I can make sentences look pretty. When I’m writing fiction, it’s easier to do. When I’m writing about God the task is harder, because how do I put Him in words?

It would seem easy. After all, He is the Word (John 1:1). Nothing exists without Him, not even the fiction I write in my novels. He is the source of all things, including my creativity. So why is it difficult to write about Him?

Can a drop of water describe the ocean from which it came? Can a gust of wind whisper of the storm that sent it? If so, what would they say?

Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.
Psalm 98:7-8, NIV

My words try to glorify the Word, and they’re going to fall short. There is so much more where they came from; He whispered the universe into existence (or maybe shouted it). I put my words on paper and do the best I can, but even when I do a good job by human standards, I can’t do Him justice.

My words come from the One Who wrote everything in His book (Psalm 139:16). He also wrote the galaxy into existence and the colors of every fish in the sea. I can write a decent story, but it doesn’t come without practice and editing; He created everything that exists without effort. There were no rough sketches for Him, no outlines.

Sure, He spends a lot of time managing His-story for our sake, so that we can get back to Him–but He doesn’t​ have to, because He is God. To whom do we dare compare His work? If He chose to leave us as we were after the Fall, rather than send His Son, to what standard would we dare hold Him? He would still be perfect.

Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor?
Isaiah 40:13, NIV

Words fail me when I try to speak of Him. I want to write like my Father creates, but I can’t. He gave me the gift of creativity, though, and because I am His child, He’s pleased to see me imitate Him.

Like a drop of water glorifies the ocean, my words always drift back to the Word, because He is good. I will spend my life trying to speak of this goodness, because from the Word comes everything beautiful–every good deed, emotion, and story.

And even though I’ll always fall short, I know He’ll smile because He loves me.


The Light in Depression

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He put my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
Psalm 40:2, NLT

Depression is a clever tormentor. Each person’s struggle with this illness is different; some have it all the time, while for others it comes and goes.

Though we all experience it differently, we tend to share the same symptoms. Most of us have felt the condition drain us of motivation, taking the magic out of things we once loved, weakening us until we feel trapped at the bottom of a pit.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, or who you’re with; depression will find you. It doesn’t matter how much you have, because depression isn’t repelled by riches or poverty. No wonder it’s easy to feel hopeless, when it seems depression will always find you.

But there is good news: We have a Savior Who will also find us. Depression always seems to know where we are and what we’re doing, but so does God, and He is greater. He never loses sight of you, and even if sometimes you can’t feel His presence, know He’s right there fighting with you.

He reminds us of this relentless pursuit in these words from Scripture:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:7-10, NIV

But He isn’t finished there. Have you ever felt so covered in darkness that no one could find you and help you? Have you ever felt trapped in a shadowy place where no good thing could happen? In the very same Psalm, He continues,

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:11-12, NIV

This doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. Depression makes it difficult to feel anything, God’s presence included. But know that He’s there with you during those nights when you can’t remember how to cry. He’s there in the midst of your anxiety, when you feel at your loneliest and don’t think this torment will end.

He’s lifting you out of the mud and mire. He’s wiping tears from your face, even when you can’t feel Him do it. And he knows you better than you know yourself—when your thoughts become irrational and you don’t know what’s bothering you, He does (Psalms 33:15, 38:9). When you feel alone in your struggle, remember He’s close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

One day you will wake up and realize He has plans for you (Psalm 40:5). He has always been your shelter (Psalm 39:7). You’ll experience the joy of one who trusts in Him (Psalm 34:5)—yes, joy.

On that day, sing songs of praise and thanksgiving—for He has always been there! Friend, remember this: Depression may be adept at finding you, but so is the Lord Jesus—and He doesn’t only find you. He loves you.

Courage, dear heart—you are not alone.

The Value of Water

The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
(Psalm 29:10 NLT)

When you leave home, you should always expect to find yourself outside your comfort zone. Otherwise, you really aren’t gaining much from the experience; we leave home to see more of the world, experience new things, meet people.

While on this trip to Peru with my family, I’d already had plenty of experiences. My biggest fear was the mega-earthquake they’ve been predicting for decades; aside from that, I couldn’t picture myself in the middle of a real crisis.

Then the floods began. Water is rising from the rivers—the Rimac, among others—and it’s swallowing entire towns. Some people have drowned in the water; others lost their homes and everything they owned. It’s not over yet, either; we are waiting for things to get worse.

I am in a part of Lima where, thankfully, the water hasn’t reached the streets. It doesn’t mean we didn’t feel the effects of the disaster; in Lima we may not see floodwater, but we are struggling to find clean water anywhere.

When I first opened the tap in the bathroom sink to find it dry, I got worried but thought it would fix itself before the day ended. I was wrong. Soon a day had passed, then two, and everyone in the district was gathering water from the park in buckets to wash the dishes and keep bathrooms clean.

If you’ve ever spent a summer day deprived of water, you know how we depend on it to keep sane. The fact of knowing there’s water brings you peace of mind; if the heat gets unbearable you can jump in the shower or wash your face. For three or four days, we didn’t have that.

I know plenty of people don’t have the luxury of tap water, but if I hadn’t found myself at a park gathering it in buckets, I would have no experience to use as comparison. I would never know how precious water is.

There is an emergency water tank above the apartment where we’re staying. For some reason this tank had broken at the wrong time; thankfully, after three days it was fixed. When there was water again, how we cheered and praised God!

We are blessed with an emergency tank, but a great deal of Lima is still without water. I am praying for them, and hope you will, too.

From this ordeal, I learned the value of water. I learned about desperation, crisis, and the power of a community coming together—neighbors we’d never spoken to suddenly became friends. Above all, I learned about God and our dependency on Him.

We don’t realize how cozy we’ve gotten until we’re forced to step into the real world. I have learned how fortunate I am, and that things I take for granted now can be gone in a heartbeat. It saddens me to know that parts of Peru are still suffering, not only without water—they have lost their homes.

We are not invincible, and all this time I had been underestimating the gift of water. While I don’t think God has caused these floods, He used this time of discomfort to help me grow. It all caused me to ponder, How much can I endure when something vital is taken away? How deeply can I learn to trust in Him above all things?

Most of all, Can I learn to see Him in the darkest of situations, when I’m not as cozy?

I think the greatest lesson I learned is that God is present in the storm. He doesn’t cause the tragedy; He never does anything to hurt us. He is, however, always with His children to comfort them. He comforted me through this storm, and He will comfort you through yours.

I’m still afraid the water will be cut off (those floods go on every day.) This time I will be ready, knowing I won’t be going through it alone. If the water is cut off again, I will wait and seek shelter in Him.

As Scripture so beautifully puts it:

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
(Psalm 27:14 NLT)