When Sorrows like Sea Billows Roll

Do you ever face something in life that looms over your heart like a black cloud? Perhaps it’s a tough decision that you desperately need wisdom in. Maybe a time of grief or pain over losing someone you love, or sorrow over family and friends that have turned away from following God. It could be a time of upheaval or change…we ladies sure do love change, right?


For me, change is a struggle. I know that God is at work, and that everything will turn out for His glory if I am following His will. But when I am here and now, in the thick of it, change is hard. Life can be challenging and scary at times. It is not fun to go through trials, to make difficult choices, or to have someone dear to me pass on to be with the Lord.

Sometimes, when facing these looming issues, it’s so much easier to be brave and strong during the day. There are things to do, places to go, people to see. It’s not hard to keep myself distracted.

And then comes the night. Stillness closes around me, and with it, the difficult thoughts I’ve managed to push away all through the day. Fear knocks hard at the door, demanding entrance into my mind. After all, just look at how big and scary this thing is! The weariness of the day tugs at me. Tears begin as a dull ache deep inside–yet another obstacle to grapple with. Sleep won’t come, not yet. A choice faces me, and I have to decide which path to take.

From all around, my thoughts are crying at me to follow them. “Break down, have a good cry! Overthink this situation! It’s natural that you should worry about this, it’s a big deal!” Their clamor can almost drown out the still, small voice of The Spirit.

Praise God, in His mercy He pulls me back from the path of my own fearful thoughts! If I make the choice to pause and listen, He brings dear, familiar words back to my mind, words I memorized long ago… “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7) The echoes of His voice grow stronger. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deu. 31:6) “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Is. 41:10)

His precious promises flow over me in a healing flood. The sinful thoughts, full of worry and care, are completely crushed by the weight of God’s perfect, eternal love for me. As I seek His face, He is so faithful to bring comfort and peace!

When I can’t rise, He lifts me up.
When I am grieving, He comforts me.
When I am afraid, He calms my heart.
When I sin, He convicts and cleanses me.
When I’m confused, He gives me light and wisdom.
When I cry out to Him, He hears me.
When I am overwhelmed, He strengthens me.
When I feel lost, He brings me home.

“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

His strength, not mine. His robes of righteousness, not mine. His thoughts, His plans, His ways.

Not mine. Never mine.

In His presence is fulness of joy, and the emptiness of grief has no place. In the palm of His hand is perfect peace, and turmoil no longer tears at my heart. In His Word I find the wisdom and strength I need, and confusion disappears. At His throne of grace I am accepted through the blood of His dear Son, and rejection by people here on earth is irrelevant. In His embrace is deepest comfort, and the ache of tears fades away.

His plans for me are just, holy, and right. I don’t need to know what the path looks like around the bend, because my Lord is holding my hand and asking me to simply take the next step. As my Shepherd, He knows exactly which steps I need to take as He grows me and draws me nearer to Himself. In the darkness and unknowns, He shows me treasures and reveals His perfect holiness. He goes before me, leading the way.

Tomorrow may hold blue skies or gray, rough roads or easy. That’s in His hands.

But tonight, I will take a breath, give this to God, and go to sleep.

About Mykaela McDowell

The McDowell family have been church planters in Central Washington State since 2014. Mykaela is the oldest of eight children. She loves to sing, write music, play piano and blog about it at makingmusickforthemaster.blogspot.com.


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Comments 1

  1. Thank you, too for the wonderful reminder of God’s care and control. Elizabeth Roy’s “His Eye is on The Sparrow” was another much-needed reminder for me. We are going through a great tumult that seems to never end, I have to remind myself constantly that God knows and cares. Knowing that I am not the only one who goes through fearful times, is a great comfort to me.

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