Deep Waters—Swim or Sink?

One verse leapt to my memory as we listened to Psalm 69 in the service this weekend: “I have come into deep waters.” It reminded me of a memorable passage from Lilias Trotter, 19th century artist, author, and missionary to Algeria.

“I am come into deep waters” took on a new meaning this morning. It started with perplexing matters concerning the future. Then it dawned that shallow waters were a place where you can neither sink nor swim, but in deep waters it is one or the other: “waters to swim in”—not to float in. Swimming is the intense, most strenuous form of motion—all of you is involved in it—and every inch of you is in abandonment of rest upon the water that bears you up.

“We rest in Thee, and in Thy Name we go.” (A Blossom in the Desert, 146, my italics)

It is an encouragement to me to be reminded by this image that deep water doesn’t drown us if we swim hard while at the same time we abandon ourselves to God who holds us up—“underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

Noël Piper (@noelpiper) is wife of John Piper, mother of five, and grandmother of twelve. She is author of Treasuring God in Our Traditions.