Reflecting upon Waterfalls

I went for a walk on Sunday along the riverside. And while walking I pondered waterfalls. We have seen many on this holiday and I love to look at them. I am fascinated by their strength and their power.

And yesterday I had another go at painting one. This time with a bit more success than before. The inspiration For this painting was seeing the long white strips down the mountain sides. I am still not very good with watercolours – I much prefer acrylics. However, I can see that I m getting a bit better.

The only reference to waterfalls in the bible is in Psalm 42. This is a great psalm for someone who is feeling low as it calls out to God and ends with a statement of faith – I will praise God…. regardless of how I feel. God is God and his praise should not be dependent upon my mood…. but it often is!

Psalm 42 (NIV)

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
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—
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

The verses that are speaking to me at the moment are:

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

Deep calls to deep is a phrase that has often been used to refer to communicating with God. However the Hebrew means an ocean, or can also refer to streams or rivers. You can imagine the mountain streams calling out to each other – they are certainly noisy enough!

The psalm is one of crying out to God and I am glad that I am no longer in that place of despair and feeling overwhelmed, as though a waterfall is drowning me. I still long for God, as the deer pats for the water, but I have also known the deep love of God reaching deep within me and healing me.

At a weekend Life Stories retreat that I attended during my sabbatical early last year, we were asked to reflect on our lives as if they were a river. We were to consider the life scripts, the narratives in our lives, the mix of dark and light… and let’s face it much of life is mundane and ordinary. What were the stepping stones and stumbling blocks, detours and mistakes; the things that have made me who I am? This Ignatian exercise is well worth doing and one that I found easy as I had already done much of the work.

I did a picture of the river of my life and in it there were 2 large waterfalls representing times when I suffered traumas and I had no control over the situation. They threatened to overwhelm me and one of them did leave a very deep emotional scar that took many years, and much counselling and prayer, to heal.

When I think of God’s waterfalls and his breakers sweeping over me, I think of the streams of living water – the Holy Spirit – washing over me, but not with the same energy and physical force of a waterfall but nevertheless with great power invisible and mostly without physical appearance or feeling. As verse 8 says:

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

So if you are feeling in the depths of despair, use this psalm and cry out to God from the depths of your pain to the depths of His love. And Be Still and Know that He is God, the God who loves you more than you can imagine.

2 Comments

  1. I love the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” It reminds me of the song/hymn that I still love “Be still for the presence of the Lord..” 🙂 Waterfalls for you are what churchyards are for me. I love to walk slowly through a churchyard and sometimes stop to pray if there is a bench. Our town churchyard is peaceful during the day and is generally well kept. Sadly, I wouldn’t go near it in the mid afternoon as a lot of people think it’s a short cut across time 😦 and teenagers think it’s a place to hang out in the evenings and use cocaine 😦 I also like to sit and connect with God in church cafe. It’s a blessing in that I can have a lovely drink and a snack, read and pray or more often than not , God gives me that time to connect with fellow Christians or people who need prayer etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Julie. I also think of the similar song, and the next one in the book, Be still and know that I am God, … I am the God that healeth thee…… In thee O Lord I put my trust… I can see why you like church yards, but for me they remind me of funerals, and work! Glad you have a church cafe that can be used for your prayer and outreach.

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