Introductory Note:

Zane Creamer is a Renovaré Institute faculty member and Spiritual Director (mine, in fact!). In this essay, Zane encourages us to ease out of our resistance and into the current of God’s love. Her vision and invitation are filled with hope: “Perhaps learning to cast ourselves into the wide, fierce ocean of God’s love opens possibilities for our transformation.”

Grace Pouch
Content Manager

Have you ever thought you might drown? It hap­pened to me once as an adult at the beach. The tide was com­ing in as I was get­ting out of the surf. Even in shal­low water, break­ers were caus­ing the sand to churn up which made it hard to find sta­ble foot­ing. I got hit right in the back of the knees by a par­tic­u­lar­ly strong wave and went down. Just as I was gain­ing trac­tion to stand up, anoth­er wave knocked me down and rolled me over! This hap­pened a cou­ple of times before there was a lull in the surf long enough to half walk, half crawl toward the shore. Once out, I fell on my tow­el, exhaust­ed and scraped up. I felt so small and vul­ner­a­ble, in just a few feet of water, against the strength of those waves. Even the most expe­ri­enced sailors and swim­mers have a healthy respect for the pow­er, vast­ness, and mys­te­ri­ous depths of the ocean.

One of my favorite hymns equates God’s love with an ocean: 

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmea­sured, bound­less, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its full­ness over me!
Under­neath me, all around me, is the cur­rent of Thy love
Lead­ing onward, lead­ing home­ward
To Thy glo­ri­ous rest above!”
S. Trevor Fran­cis, 1875

I won­der how often I fight God’s love rolling over me as I did those waves pound­ing the shore? If I were to total­ly aban­don myself to the pow­er of his desire for good in my life, what would be dif­fer­ent? How could I do it? So many years have been spent act­ing like a peren­ni­al three year old learn­ing to do it for myself.” Can I learn depen­dence on God’s love like learn­ing to be com­fort­able in the surf? That starts with long walks splash­ing in tide pools, fol­lowed by wad­ing in and adjust­ing to the shift­ing sand under­foot. Then mov­ing beyond the break­ers, feet leave the sand in rhythm of the surf. In time comes the free­dom — to dive into the on-com­ing waves or to lay back and float on the gen­tle swells. Poten­tial dan­gers still exist, but I have greater con­fi­dence with every outing. 

Per­haps I can learn to trust the pow­er of God’s love — wash­ing over me, in me and through me. God takes small oppor­tu­ni­ties to catch my atten­tion and remind me of his pres­ence. He starts invit­ing me to ask for help soon­er. I might risk what had been unthink­able: being mis­un­der­stood or found wrong and not defend­ing myself, not hijack­ing a con­ver­sa­tion or draw­ing atten­tion to myself, find­ing myself invest­ing in doing good (rather than in not doing some­thing wrong), and hav­ing a life that becomes easy and joy­ous — not because cir­cum­stances change, but because rela­tion­ship with God caus­es all else to pale. 

God’s pow­er­ful love asks me to risk: let­ting go of right­eous anger,” giv­ing up rehears­ing lists of wrongs done to me, and guard­ing myself against poten­tial hurts. It depends on the cur­rent of safe­ty that flows through God’s king­dom. While pow­er­ful, vast and mys­te­ri­ous, God invites us to be swept up in the cur­rent of his love … a place of safe­ty and rest!

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in the Way of Life Coach­ing newsletter.

Pho­to by Silas Baisch on Unsplash

Text First Published September 2016 · Last Featured on Renovare.org October 2021

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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