Deep Calls To Deep

Psalm 42 is a psalm I come to again and again. The cries of the psalmist, longing for God, and his downcast soul that must be commanded to find hope in the true source of hope always grabs me. I can’t get over this chapter. And nestled right in the middle is this verse that always rocks me:

“Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me” (Psalm 42:7).

“Deep calls to deep?” We don’t typically hear language like that. Over the years I have wrestled with this phrase and can only describe an intangible, deep feeling: the Lord’s deep (His Spirit) calls to my deep (my spirit). It is like a lifeline connecting my spirit with His.


What a humbling and amazing phrase! He seeks me out. He searches my innermost being. He desires me, a wretched sinner. When I have no desire for Him, He still pursues me. He gives my heart life; He awakens my soul. He gives me the ability to see His beauty and love in ways that are only possible in Him. And we are connected. We are one in Christ.

But what of these metaphors? Waterfalls, waves, breakers? Why did the psalmist choose these specific images?

Imagine standing at Niagara Falls, watching the tons of gallons of water being pushed down into the lake below. Are you visualizing the power of this beautiful place? Now imagine with me that you are standing on the beach, walking out into the water. As you go further out, the heavy waves beat against you, taking your breath away, making it difficult to stand. Are you feeling the intensity of the ocean’s force?

This is how it feels to be refined by the Lord, to submit ourselves under His power and majesty, to be overwhelmed by who He is. Because we are one with Him, He prunes us and shapes us to be more like Himself. His holiness and goodness beat against our flesh and remove the parts that don’t honor Him. His waves and breakers strip away what’s broken to renew us in His Spirit.

With the pandemic at hand, I’ve been reflecting more on these verses. I’ve been considering how He wants to refine us during this unprecedented time. I’ve been considering how He wants to pursue us. With so much uncertainty in the world and so many places of business closed, our material securities are being stripped away. He is refining us until all we have left is our security in Christ. Though scary, this is a gracious thing! We are being reminded of the eternal things: Christ and His Church. Our homes, our savings accounts, our social status are not meant to last into eternity. In difficult seasons like this one, our securities are challenged. The sources of our hope are revealed and He asks us, “My child, is your hope found in Me?”

You might be feeling like His waves and breakers are crushing you. The trials you are facing may seem unbearable. And you may be wishing He would stay His pruning knife. You are not alone in these feelings. But look with me at the next verse: “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me” (v. 8). He is our ever-loving Father, and He is gentle. He is trustworthy. We can surrender to the waves and the breakers. We can surrender to the roar of His waterfall. He is a good, good Father.

Let’s listen as His deep calls to our deep. Let’s be women who allow Him to strip away our false securities and fill us with the hope that endures. Let’s be women of humility, reminding ourselves of our dependence on Him in a culture that prizes independence.

Let’s lean into Him in this time. Let’s seek His presence. Let’s be women who know His nearness.