Ocean Depths Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths . . . Psalms 148: 7
When my home office, my laptop, my phone calls, my work get too much for me, one of my favorite things to do is to go see nature. You know, God’s creations. God’s creations are amazing.
I like to go canoeing on the White River down from 146th Street in Carmel. The river is always beautiful, barely touching civilization for the first 2 or 3 miles, which is a long canoe ride.
Putting in under the bridge at 5am on a cold winter day to go duck hunting with my Son Zach, Daughter Rachel, my Nephew Jacob, or my friend Fred Carter is something. You get all your gear in the canoe, tie it down in case you capsize, make sure your life vest is snug over your chest waders and heavy camo coat, and you push off. You push off with one foot and step in with the other, and into the current. It’s dark. The water envelops the canoe all around. The current takes you in and the flow laps on the side of the canoe about 8 inches down the gunwale. You know the river is in control now, and you are paddling at its behest. You are safe, dry, and warm, except your nose, which is cold. But you know the river can take you down if it wants to.
It’s not deep, like the ocean depths, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s still dangerous. At 24°F, your in chest waders and there’s rocks under the water big enough to tip you over if you hit them the wrong way, and it is 3 to 8 feet deep there. Over 6 feet it doesn’t matter, you can’t touch the bottom. Thrill seeker? Maybe, but I just do it to get away from the modern world and feel closer to God.
God is all around me. He’s all around me in my home office too, but on the river in these conditions (or any conditions for that matter) it is more apparent to my feeble mind that I am in God’s hands. If He wants me to stay dry, I will. If He wants me to get wet, I will get wet. If he wants me to almost die from hypothermia and have my paddling partner save me with a big roaring fire, then that will happen too. I know that I only pass through the 5am darkness down the gently flowing river at God’s discretion – you know with His grace.
It’s kind of a physical metaphor of God’s grace for my sins. He lets me have salvation despite my sins if I believe in Jesus. I feel more in touch with God, in His surroundings. Man made my home office, but God made the river!
And the river praises Him. It was made by God! The 3 foot long catfish that swim under it were made by God. The buck we saw when I asked Rachel to turn on the flood light to get a bearing – the buck is God’s creation. The barred owl that usually hoots at us nuts in the canoe in the dark – the owl is God’s creation. And the pack of coyotes that starts howling just before we get to our duck hunting island – the coyotes are God’s creations. They all praise out to God. They all are lifting their voices, their presence, their form, to praise God. And I see God in who these creations are.
And I see God in the river. The river praises God in how beautiful it is. The river praises God in how cold it is, in how massive the flowing water is all around me, in how gracious it is to gently let me pass, despite my fear and respect for it – just like God. He is strong, he is loving and gracious. He is dangerous, holding the key to life, the key to time, the key to everlasting life in His hands.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea creatures and all ocean depths, lighting and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. Praise the Lord.