Katsushika Hokusai was one of the most prolific and celebrated artists in Japanese history. Between 1826 and 1833, when he was in his mid-60s and early 70s, he created his greatest work—a series of color woodblock prints titled Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji. Among those paintings was his masterpiece: The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. This painting, created during a time of financial and emotional struggles for Hokusai, shows a towering wall of water edged with clawlike foam about to crash down on three slim boats full of rowers.
Psalm 107 also tells a story of people in peril at sea. Afloat on the waves, “they mount up to the heavens, [and] they go down again to the depths.” And as a result, “their soul melts because of trouble” (v.26). Eventually, the sailors send an S.O.S. to God, and He responds by smoothing out the sea and guiding them to their destination (vv.28-30).
When we face desperate circumstances, we tend to look to other people for guidance and comfort. They are in the same boat, however—lost in an ocean of life’s ups and downs. Only God is outside the boat, sovereign, stable, and strong enough to calm the storms (vv.24-25,29). Facing trouble? Call on Him!
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain? —Owens