by Charlotte O
I remember when I first heard this song on a friend’s Facebook. By the time it got to the bridge, I had stopped what I was doing, put everything down, stopped multitasking and just listened in silence and God touched my heart. Now over a year later, that song still has the ability to speak to me, especially when I hear it during a worship service. There is something about this song. Something about the music, the lyrics, the heart of it all that reaches me, and many others I’ve talked with in deep places. The more I thought about it, the more I saw how this song connects deeply with people of this generation through many of the common struggles and experiences we as - I almost cringe to say it – millennials have gone through.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
In a generation where we’ve been told from a young age – you can do whatever you want, just dream it and you can do it; in a generation called spoiled, entitled, and ignorant of how tough it was for those who have gone before us, in a generation with greater access to the world, knowledge, and other humans than ever before, there is a new kind of fear. There is a fear of failure. I know it well. With all these expectations, with all we’ve been given, with all that is available, how dare we not succeed? But at what? The fear of failure can be paralyzing. The indecision can be overwhelming.
There is something so freeing about admitting that you may fail. Something so liberating about acknowledging your weaknesses to one who can carry them. When we step out into the waters, we don’t know what will happen, we don’t know if we will sink, or walk on water. When we step into careers, relationships, and ministries, we feel like we are in uncharted territory. At 32, my peers are leading churches and departments, joining pastoral search committees and choosing teams to complete projects. These are the kinds of responsibilities we always imagined the ‘older people’ would be carrying out. But here we are, maybe secretly feeling unqualified, taking it one step at a time. And in those times, that is when we most need something bigger than ourselves: A God with a purpose who is calling us out and promising to equip us.
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
As our culture moves away from modernism, and we realize that there is more to life than what we see, we are drawn to the mysteries. We are hungry for an experience of God. Not just something packaged and sold to us because we fit a certain demographic. A lot of people who have rejected institutional religion are still embracing spirituality. A lot of us who are more educated than any other generation in our families are realizing that faith and not learning will carry us through. We may not want to be tied to a certain denomination, we may not want the borders and rules that come with traditional church, but we do want God. We want a God who moves oceans and empowers us to change the world.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
We have failed ourselves, and have been failed by others. We have so many voices calling out and telling us what to do and where to go. We need to stop sometimes and listen. When we hear the voice of grace calling through our failures, we realize there is hope. We know that no matter how much we have failed God, he will never fail us. We are longing for that guiding voice, that guiding spirit to move us toward our destiny. When we truly cling to God, we can face all things.
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
The bridge of this song is almost a song in itself. I’m one of those people who loves the bridge. I want to live on the bridge. Those building moments of power that make worship songs so distinctive—those are the moments that inspire me. Maybe they are manipulated, but that crescendo causes a similar movement in my spirit. This bridge is a cry for help, a cry of surrender, and declaration of trust. We acknowledge that we long for greater things, that we desire fullness, and that we cannot do it on our own. When we truly surrender ourselves and call on the name of Jesus, we will find hope, strength, and rest.
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
This brings me to the chorus, which expresses the deepest longing of our souls: belonging. More than success, more than money, popularity or anything else, at the heart of it, we all desire to belong. We want to be part of a family, relationship, community, or vision: something that matters. This desire for belonging was created inside of us by a God who wants us first to belong to HIM. So sing this song with me, and sing it loud. Call upon his name and be saved from yourself. Let him lift you above your fears and failures, no matter how far you feel yourself sinking. Find yourself with strengthened faith and a sense of belonging, or if that’s too much, then just lift your hands and keep your eyes above the waves until you get pulled out.
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