Troubled Waters

by Joanna Pierce on March 06, 2019

Everyone was initially excited the day we boarded the charter fishing boat. However, hours later, our outlook changed. Embarking on a deep-sea fishing trip into uncharted waters would have been adventure enough, but we had departed the sanctuary of the harbor directly into high seas. Our timing was impeccable; we left during the wake of a hurricane.

To say the seas were a bit choppy is a drastic understatement. For an entire ship manifest of less-than-seasoned sailors, no one was prepared for the roughness of the waters and the impact it would have on the human body. Even though the captain later remarked we probably shouldn’t have gone out that day, it was too late—we were all at sea, and most of the passengers were sea sick.

You might think our family strange to have decided to risk the safety, security, and stability of land to brave the turbulent seas. What could we have possibly gleaned from such a risk? Why were we drawn into such troubled waters?

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had (John 5:2–4, KJV).

Throughout our Christian journey, God will present a horizon of troubled waters. I’ve seen my fair share of these and I’m never first in line to jump in. I’m not interested in getting water up my nose, gasping for breath amid the waves, or getting sea sick. Contrary to my opinion, this isn’t God’s desire. He wants me to step into the turmoil and to trust Him. But how can swirling waters be beneficial in our journey?

Moses led Israel into the troubled waters of the Red Sea, and the waters rolled back on both sides providing a safe passageway. Peter stepped out of a boat into the raging sea and walked on water with the Lord. Rippling waters of Bethesda provided healing to the first swimmer. Baptism via immersion in the lovely name of Jesus washes all our sins away! Troubled waters are scary, they don’t always feel good, but there’s something miraculous that occurs when we step into them.

The first time the angel of the Lord troubled the waters of Bethesda, I wonder how long it took for someone to figure out a healing was in store. After the initial hesitation, everyone desired to be the first one wet! When approaching the troubled waters in your life, you must remind yourself you’re not just getting wet—you’re getting a miracle!

Our deep-sea fishing trip was not a miracle in disguise, but life-changing once you got past the motion sickness and unpleasant smells. I snagged the largest fish of my lifetime and have the picture to prove it. Even in the hardship of the seas I had fun, formed lasting memories, strengthened my family relationships, and learned a valuable lesson—I can survive troubled waters. Each time we jump in head first, our trust and faith in God grows. The greater our faith the easier it will be to embrace future storms. We’ll know the bubbling water isn’t meant to evoke anxiety but is a sign God’s getting ready to work.

Since my childhood, I’ve been on 2 additional deep-sea fishing expeditions and braved some rough waters all over again. Each time I’ve survived, and I know I’ll survive the troubled waters many times into the future. If you’re still anxious about stepping into your troubled waters today, I encourage you to jump on in. You’ll find they’re not that bad, and you’ll survive too.