The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The last few months have brought me to this verse over and over again and I always seem to walk away with so much more than when I arrived. Here in this little fragment of a story we see a truth that resonates throughout the entire body of scripture. It’s a message of hope that bounces from one prophets song to the next. A song of groaning and discovery that is birthed in the middle of the Chaos Waters. Over the utter darkness of our lives The Spirit is at home, brooding over the waters like a mother hen with her chicks, expectant of the life that will soon birth out of the deep.
In Mesopotamian civilizations these waters were representative of chaos and disorder and according to the Babylonian creation myth these Chaos Waters were an enemy that needed to be conquered and destroyed. The primordial waters of the creation narrative run deep into the heart of humanity because our hearts and lives can be such a messy and turbulent place. It becomes easy, like the Babylonians, to consider them worthy of nothing more than destruction. In those seasons we are often taught to deny this part of ourselves. To pray harder and do more. To swallow our doubts and suck it up. We are taught not to acknowledge those parts of ourselves and God forbid we even speak of them, especially to him right? All of our efforts and attempts to deny the condition of our hearts only adds to the turbulence. We become so easily convinced that something is wrong with us and try to fix it instead of allowing God to bring us peace. Unlike the Babylonians the Hebrews did not see the Chaos Waters as something to be destroyed but rather nurtured and fostered by the rich love and compassion of God until what was a chaotic mess came into being.
The Spirit is over the depths of our hearts and is breathing love into the farthest reaches of the void so that what is chaos can become promise. We do not have to run from the void. God is present there. Yes! Present with you even there as your world crumbles into the abyss and your heart fails. He is there when you do not have the words to pray. He is there in your doubts. He is there and he is calling out to your heart, as deep calls to deep, and from the emptiness he will bring forth life. I promise.
The Israelites passed through the Red Sea to new life! And like them we find new life in the watery grave of being joined with Jesus in the baptism of his death as resurrection. The waters are a gateway to new life and we must embrace them because the day is coming when we shall be brought through to the other side. We shall see our savior a top the waves lifting us up to stand as he calms the seas. I love Johns choice of imagery when he describes the throne room of God in chapter four of Revelations.
“Before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.(v6)
Chaos is not destroyed but brought into shalom no longer roaring and raging but shimmering and at rest. God is bringing forth life from the void of our hearts, making the darkest depths as clear as glass. Believe it beloved!
Through whom, to whom, and for whom all things exist!