Deep Calling Deep

I don’t remember much about the couple of days following my mother’s death, besides writing her obituary and sitting with my entire family in the funeral director’s office. But I do remember the crush of physical and emotional exhaustion, the sickening awfulness that I can’t describe.

I had no idea what to say to God or what to read in the Bible. I’m not sure I was able to respond to Him with anything other than outpourings of grief. But at some point during those first days without her—those days of wordless prayer—I felt a desperate need to worship God. I needed someone else’s words, someone else’s song, to remind me how.

I dug through my parents’ CD collection looking for a recording of my favorite old hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns. I found one, and listened. The familiar music flooded my spirit with the presence of God, with the reminder of His greatness, goodness and gentleness. I needed them all. I needed Him, and there He was.

And the recording of that song was purely instrumental. I didn’t even need to hear or sing the words of worship. It was enough that worship was the desire of my heart.

I experienced what the psalmist described in Psalm 42:7-8, starting with verse 7: “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.”

The phrase deep calls to deep is like “sorrow calls to sorrow.” One commentary puts it this way: The roar of successive billows, responding to that of floods of rain, represented the heavy waves of sorrow which overwhelmed him.

After this expression of grief, the psalmist says in verse 8, “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.”

Somehow, in the middle of his pain, he met the Lord. I think he found that song of God’s love and presence through worship, which is the most fitting, intimate and deepest response to the “deep calling deep” of sorrow. He designed the deepest wells of emotion for worship—the voice of our own “deep” calling for Him. Only the presence of God can reach that hidden, wordless place in our being.

Psalm 22:3 tells us that God dwells in the praises of His people. He responds to our worshipful joy or brokenness with His presence. His presence always provides exactly what we need, whether it’s comfort and hope or simply a safe place to weep. And it prepares us for the day we enter His physical presence in heaven, where we will weep no more.



One Response to “ “Deep Calling Deep”

  1. Dianne says:

    Thanks for the insightful explanation of that psalm. I have had many of those days of wordless prayers. Now that my emotions have calmed I've been gravitating to 2 Cor.

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