Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Deepest Waters Review

On Tuesday I talked about trusting God in the midst of seeming disaster based on what I learned from God's leading the Israelites out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. After the celebration about the Egyptians defeat, the people started traveling again, following the column of fire across the desert. Several times they yelled and complained when they couldn't find water or food. Then they came to Mount Sinai and Moses went up the mountain to receive God's laws for the people. He was up on the mountain for forty days, and the people started to get worried. I can understand their fear. Moses was their leader, their symbol of the God they were too afraid to talk to or see themselves. Forty days is a long time to go without seeing or hearing from anyone you care about (imagine the country's distress if the President disappeared for forty days!). This means that not only did they not hear from Moses, they also did not hear from God during this period.

So they went to the second in charge, Moses' brother Aaron and asked him to provide them with a god they could worship and see. Aaron could have told the people to be patient and trust God. That would have been the absolutely right thing to do. Instead he told the people to bring him their gold jewelry, melted it down and made a golden calf idol they could worship. And the Hebrews threw a party to end all parties. This was not like the celebration near the Red Sea with the women playing tambourines and singing praises to God. This was what you think of when you picture a college frat party. Bad enough that God immediately stopped his conversation with Moses and informed him He was about to kill them all and make Moses the father of a new people. Moses, a truly good and humble man, pleaded with God to forgive His people and went back down the mountain to stop the bacchanalia.

This is the famous scene of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments throwing the stone tablets to the ground and yelling at the Israelites while his beautiful beard and white hair flow back with his anger. He ground up the calf idol and made the people EAT the dust. He ordered anyone who would defend God to take up his sword and kill everyone he could. The Levite tribe grabbed their swords and killed 3000 people, earning themselves a place as God's chosen tribe of priests. Then he marched back up the mountain for another forty days to talk to God. This time the people waited patiently for Moses to return with the Ten Commandments (and then some).

I've recently been waiting on God for something, a specific message or action. I've prayed earnestly about it, but I've been waiting. And waiting is hard! Just ask the Israelites. I even tried to explain it to Jesse a few weeks ago and cried with the pain of waiting. But then I read this section and realized that I'm being just as impatient as the Israelite people were. God expected the people to trust Him enough after rescuing them from slavery, parting the Red Sea, slaying their enemies, and providing them with food and drink regularly. I've have been just as blessed with miracles and rescues in my lifetime, yet when I don't get an answer within the time-frame I think is appropriate I assume that He has forgotten me. The Lord would never forget me; He died for me!

There will be times within our lives when we feel that God is ignoring our prayers or not there at all, but we need to remember the story of the golden calf. Not just for the obvious message of avoiding idols, but to be patient! I don't know how many days it has been, I've stopped counting. I'm trusting in my Savior to answer me when His time is right, and I know that He will. I just have to remind myself to be patient and trust Him in the way the Israelites refused to.

Deepest Waters, The: A NovelThe Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh is a surprising story of love that cannot be destroyed by distance or death. John and Laura Foster embarked on their honeymoon on the SS Vandervere with all the hopes and dreams any newly married couple shares, but their trip became a nightmare when the ship was caught in a storm and began to sink. The women aboard were ferried to another ship, but the men were left behind to go down with the ship and pray for a miracle. The story follows Laura as she travels to meet her in-laws, who are unaware of her existence, believing that the love of her life is dead, and John in his fight to stay alive and return to his soulmate. Aboard the rescue ship, Laura meets the slave Micah and they quickly bond over their shared faith. Walsh truly brings to life the terrors of surviving day after day adrift at sea as well as the devastating grief of a love lost before it had a chance to grow. The story is compelling and readers who qualm at the coincidences therein should know that much of it is based on a true story. Walsh excels at telling stories about people of faith and how it affects the world around them.

Thank you to Revell for providing me with a copy of this book for review. Available May of 2010 from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group at your favorite bookseller.