Day 17

The Lord Will Reign as King

from the Lent 2017: You Are Mine reading plan

Isaiah 23:1-18, Isaiah 24:1-23, Romans 1:18-23, Philippians 2:5-11

BY Annie Downs

Text: Isaiah 23:1-18, Isaiah 24:1-23, Romans 1:18-23, Philippians 2:5-11

On a sunny day in January, I stood at the very end of a jetty on Newport Beach. (I don’t live in California, but I’ll take a work trip to the left coast in the middle of winter every year, please and thank you.) I hadn’t originally wanted to walk all the way to the end of the jetty, out where the water gets deep and the waves crash. There were so many jagged-edged rocks, and I know my own proclivity toward injury. I also have a thing with sharks (that thing being a massive fear of sharks), so the whole experience seemed less than enjoyable.

But I wanted to see the view from there. It felt like it might mean something to me. So I cautiously walked out. It was probably only thirty yards long, but it took me a few minutes to maneuver my way down the rocks. The view was beautiful, and I was right: it was worth the trek. I stood there—Ellie Holcomb’s latest album, Red Sea Road, in my ears—watching the ocean, while somehow standing right in the middle of it. I was so glad I’d made the effort.

That is, until the waves started to crash, each one a little wilder than the last. As I watched them roll in and out with increasing force, I became nervous, pushing my hands out in front of me like a crossing guard and saying out loud, “Okay, waves, be cool. Settle down.”

And then I heard a tiny giggle behind me.

Unbeknownst to me, a family had walked out to the end of the jetty as well. The son, no older than seven, was standing right behind me. “You can’t boss the ocean like that,” he said to me, laughing. And I laughed, too, though admittedly a little embarrassed.

But he was right: I can’t control the waves. I know I can’t. (But it felt good to try.) And yet, when life presents those walk-to-the-edge-of-the-jetty opportunities, I’m game. I get “brave,” then act as if I can control what happens next. As soon as something gets uncomfortable—like those waves crashing a little too high for my liking—I want to take control.

It seems like this is all God wants to talk with me about these days: control, and my lack of it. And my continual persistence in trying to prove to Him that I’ve got everything under control, thankyouverymuch.

But I don’t. So I constantly find myself returning to Him, confessing those moments when I grasp for the reins, then gently allowing His Word, His voice, to remind me that me being out of control isn’t all that bad. Because in reality, He’s been in control all along.

Admitting my lack of control is just an admission of what’s true: God controls all the things. Nothing is out of His grasp or view. Not oceans or governments, the weather or my heart. I’m never really flailing or falling—I’m held, kept. No matter how chaotic life feels, the waves will not overtake me. The One whose hand stretched out over the ocean waters—the One who created them—can surely calm them (Isaiah 23:11; 48:13). Nothing moves without His knowledge.

I can’t stand before the sea and tell the waves which way to roll. But He can. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in my life (Romans 8:11). I can’t heal my own heart, save the lost, right the wrongs, or calm the storm—in me, in my home, or in the world. But He can. And He does. Because He holds all things together.


Post Comments (128)

128 thoughts on "The Lord Will Reign as King"

  1. Amy says:

    This makes me think of a song, Center, by Charlie Hall. Such a wonderful reminder Annie that Jesus is indeed the one who holds it all together. Be He be at the center of our hearts and minds.

    You’re the center of the universe
    Everything was made in You Jesus
    Breath of every living thing
    Everyone was made for You

    You hold everything together
    You hold everything together

    Christ be the center of our lives
    Be the place we fix our eyes
    Be the center of our lives

    We lift our eyes to heaven
    We wrap our lives around your life
    We lift our eyes to heaven, to You

  2. Beth says:

    I can’t tell you how perfectly fitting this was today. Thank you so much for your ministry and listening to the spirit’s leading as you write.

    “Nothing moves without his knowledge. I can’t stand before the sea and tell the waves which way to move. But he can.”

    After praying through some real fear last night what a perfect thing to read this morning!

  3. Carrie says:

    The one scripture referenced in the devotional, the only one that would have been a part of today’s reading, Isaiah 23:20, doesn’t exist

    1. Katelyn says:

      I think that’s a typo :) it’s supposed to be 23:11. I just noticed it’s on the image.

  4. Laura G says:

    As I read Isaiah this morning, I am again feeling convicted because I am so reluctant to share the Gospel verbally with those around me. This is the wrath they will face without Christ. And I love these people enough that I should share God’s plan of redemption with them while I have the chance . And not be so anxious about feeling rejected if they don’t want to hear the Good News.

    If any of you are willing, please pray that I will be brave and wise and winsome in sharing God’s redemptive love with my father while I am visiting with him this weekend. He grew up in a Jewish home but as an adult he does not have a faith in God.

    And I appreciate the devotional thoughts as well. My 16 year old has been declared terminal after battling stage 4 cancer for the past 18 months. We are about to embark on a clinical trial. But when I despair at the thought of losing my beloved son, I cling to the hope that in the end he will be with Jesus and I will see him again and spend eternity with him in Heaven.

    It still feels like more than my mothers heart can bear but God will not leave me even in my darkest times of grief and pain.

    1. Mary Joseph says:

      Laura, I am praying for you. That you would be able to accept the grace of the Lord who commands the sea and the winds. He is so pleased by this desire of your heart, and I am praying for that desire to be honored and met with boldness and fearlessness as you declare the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Understanding that you do not have to think about what you will say to your father, but only allow the Holy Spirit to speak.
      And for this journey with your son…. I cannot even imagine. Praying that you would know the Lord is with you every step of the way.

      1. Rfhale says:

        I am praying right now for you dear sister

    2. Corrie Mae says:

      Praying for you Laura

    3. Rfhale says:

      I am praying for you dear sister

    4. Victoria says:


      1. Debbi Faust says:

        Laura, I have been remembering you and Luke in prayer almost every day since I read your comment on SRT on March 6. My heart goes out to you. I can’t even imagine being in your place. You are much stronger than I could ever be. You are also a great witness to us all.

  5. Heidi Vaughan says:

    He can. He will. He does. Amen.

  6. Hayley M says:

    This was a great little piece about our personal need to realize we’re not in control but where is the depth? Where is the connection to any of the passages that we were to read… especially Isaiah? And where is the connection to the reason why Lent is practiced? I would love for there to be actual Biblical discussion about the Lord’s promises and His means of rescue (the gospel) rather than personal antedotes that don’t really seem to make a connection to the passage at all : /

    1. Jessica says:

      Agreed. So far this week, I haven’t seen much connection between he scripture and the commentary – and there is so much to say about this scripture! This was a great piece but there was so much more from today’s reading (a look at days still to come on this earth – judgement and destruction of the whole Earth!) that was left unsaid here.

    2. Alisa says:

      In Isaiah, all these kingdoms were pursuing riches yet failing to honor God who bestows those blessings. In judgement, they were stripped of all. The reminder is that He is in control of all things – great and small.

  7. Sarah Joy says:

    “Admitting my lack of control is just an admission of what’s true: God controls all the things. Nothing is out of His grasp or view.”
    How often do
    I need to remind myself that God sees me? He sees me. Today. Where I am. A dear friend said to me once as she leaned her face uncomfortably close to mine, “this is where He is when He sees you.” Tears again. He is close by, not far off. He is in me, beside me, leading me. Admit what is true – he’s in control.

  8. Cindy says:

    And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    Colossians 1 :17

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