Psalm 107 tells of “those who go down to the sea in ships” (v.23). Along their journey at sea, they see God as the One behind the tempestuous storm and the One who calms it. In the world of sailing vessels there were two great fears. One fear was of a terrible gale, and the other was of having no wind at all.
In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) describes tempests and doldrums at sea. Two lines have become household words:
Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
In doldrum latitudes, the wind dies down and a sailing ship remains stationary. Captain and crew are “stuck,” with no relief in sight. Eventually, with no wind, their water supply runs out.
Sometimes life demands that we weather a storm. At other times it puts us to the test of tedium. We may feel stuck. What we want most is just out of reach. But whether we find ourselves in a crisis of circumstance or in a place where the spiritual wind has been taken out of our sails, we need to trust God for guidance. The Lord, who is sovereign over changing circumstances, will eventually guide us to our desired haven (v.30).
I will not fear the howling storms of doubt,
Nor shudder when I feel I’m all alone;
But I will trust my Savior as I shout:
“The Lord’s my helper—He is on the throne!” —Hess
God orders our stops as well as our steps.