“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
This morning I was reading the book of Zephaniah and smiled remembering this verse that has meant so much to us. I might have mentioned it before, but it is a happy memory worth repeating. Over 20 years ago, I was reading this same book in the Bible. It was the day after our first date and I was still on cloud nine, not knowing at the time that that date would lead to marriage. On that morning, I came across Zephaniah 3:17 and had never remembered reading it before. I loved it and could not wait to share it with that boy I was still thinking about. We were both working at Windy Gap, a Young Life camp in North Carolina at the time. I shared it with him and he turned around and shared it with the high school kids he was in charge of. It is just as powerful, comforting and encouraging now as it was then; maybe even more so during this time.
When I read it again today, I thought about the song by We the Kingdom called “Dancing on the Waves”, which is based on this verse. It is beautiful and one I have listened to over and over. What was really fun was seeing this group do a video of this song on the stage at none other than Windy Gap. It was actually on that same stage that I saw my now husband before we even went on that first date. It is fun to remember and I love that a verse can spark such a smile. The song will make you smile too and makes you feel like the words are actually being sung over you. I picture myself like a ballerina, dancing and spinning over waves. The water is of no concern, nor the height of the waves, just sweet music and precious peace that washes over my heart.
If we go back a bit further to another song that talks about waves, we find Hillsong’s very popular song, “Oceans”. When we have sung this song, I think of it as a prayer where we are asking the Lord to take us to a place of increased faith. It is based on the story found in Matthew 14, where Peter walks on the water with Jesus. Peter steps out of the boat and walks towards Jesus. In a moment of doubt, he looks at his surroundings and begins to sink, crying out for help. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). This song was sung for so long and in so many places. It was very popular. Do you think we are now getting what we asked for? No, we did not ask for a pandemic and people to die, but we did ask for our faith to be increased. We asked for the Lord to take us further out from the safety of the boat. However, now that we are out, how are we doing as a church? Are we sinking or are we dancing? The waves remain the same and Jesus is still right here, but how are we responding?
For those that do not know or trust the same God that is so mighty to save, able to quiet, rejoices and sing over us, it could be getting very hard during this time. The waves are crashing and one might feel like they are living in a time of drowning. Each day brings the same crashing circumstances. Nothing is stable and identity is being washed away with each wave. What do you do now? I can tell you in the last 6 years I have tried two things. The first was to fight to stay afloat, anxious in heart and not very quiet about my dislike of being in the water at all. I was more of a toes in the sand kind of girl. Then something shifted and like Peter, felt as if the Lord had taken my hand and pulled me to himself. We have been dancing ever since. Not perfectly on my part and I trip over my own feet every now and again, but my faith has increased greatly. What I have found is He is exactly who He said He is back in Zephaniah 3:17. The waves do not look to be going away anytime soon for any of us. So, what will it be? May we choose to dance. There’s a song about that too, but I will let you hum that one on your own.