I remember this song that went on repeat in my heart. Those words that became a yearning to get out of the boat and walk on water. To go deeper. Further, much further than I could ever go on my own. Oh how I would sing it out…
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I didn’t know. I was blissfully unaware of what deeper and further really look like — what walking on water would demand from me.
I didn’t know it would hurt my heart. I didn’t expect to cry and grieve and wonder where God had gone. I had no idea that my journey of deeper and further and tripping the light fantastic across the water would lead me to be an eye witness to a tiny piece of the depravity of humanity. And tiny was all I could handle. Watching someone make choices that ended in the death of an innocent life and bringing so much pain and grief to those around them. I was one of those people. One of those who kept offering life to someone who continually chose death. And death came, not to the one choosing it, but to the one who had no choice. A baby died before it breathed and all I could whisper is “God is still good”, but my heart broke so hard I could barely breathe.
Going deeper exposes things that are kept hidden in the shallows and I found myself drowning in anger, hatred and a ravenous desire for revenge that I called justice. And then God threw me an unlikely life line.
“And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
Do what is right, Karla. Desire mercy. Leave judgment and come back to Me.
It sounds so simple. But this act of leaving my anger and my questions and my need for something to be made right? It was me being called to step out of the boat and find that walking on water is not simple. Going deeper is hard.
And here, where no shore can be found, is where He calls me out of the boat at last. To lift my eyes to Him and walk on the waters of forgiveness and mercy. And I’ll be honest with you…it feels like flesh being ripped from my bones. Because there are some things that make our flesh cling to life. Some things that make dying to self seem very wrong.
But in deep waters revelation is carried in on the waves.
I have run past the cross, giving it a nod of acknowledgment as I went. I know He died for my sins, and I have thanked Him many times. But somehow, I’ve moved on from the cross. Maybe because I thought that’s what it meant to go deeper with God.
There is no deeper place in God where you will not find yourself at the cross.
His death was atonement for the deepest depravity. He died for the ones committing acts that assault justice, kill innocent, and bring destruction to everyone they touch. He died for the ones who do not deserve mercy; the ones for whom I have no mercy.
And He died for me, and God called that justice and I can’t run past that on my way to deeper places.
Something ugly happened on my journey into deeper and farther. And that something exposed the ugly in me. But, I love Him. And because I love Him, I will follow Him. I will fix my eyes on Him and let Him fill the ugly places in my heart with a beautiful, offensive mercy.
I will walk on water. I will go deeper and farther than my own feet could ever take me. I will worship Him through the grief and the pain. I will let this anger drown in forgiveness. I will cling to the cross. Because He is still good.
Because He is offensively merciful to me.