Wonders in the Sea of Corrections

Wonders in the Sea of Corrections

Psalm 107:23-31They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and riseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

 

Ezekiel 27:5-9 describes the ships and the men that sailed them, “thy mariners: thy wise men.”

These men had skill in their profession; not just anyone could do this job.  They were strong, equipped, proficient, well-abled men. God doesn’t send everyone into the sea to do His business.  He has sent us into a different type of sea than these mariners. As corrections officers, we go down into a sea of concrete and steel to do his business in the great waves of waters that often threaten to capsize our very soul.  Yet here is where we see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep as we could in no other place.

 

With so much to distract us, noticing and recognizing the wonders in our surroundings will require the eye of the Spirit. Sometimes a fellow officer may help us stop and consider something from a spiritual view.  At first glance or in the midst of doing what it takes to make it through to the end of the shift, it’s easy to think there is nothing of value to see here amidst the monotony of doing our time: just bars, steel, concrete, paperwork, and hassles.  These shipmen could not relate to us the wonders in the deep they saw anymore than we can adequately paint the story of the works of the LORD we see in our service in corrections on a daily basis.

 

Have you ever been “at your wits end” at work?  In this verse, “wit” is referring to “good wisdom.” These mariners had exhausted all the knowledge and understanding they had gained from the experiences of the sea, having done everything they knew to do right and that their maritime skills and ingenuity could fashion.  An old mariner log book says of this condition, “Wit and wisdom, they were clean washed out of us; we felt ourselves to be at a nonplus altogether.” Webster’s 1818 Dictionary defines a “nonplus” as “puzzle; insuperable difficulty; a state in which one is unable to proceed or decide.”  This dire situation uncloaked the exact response needed to keep them from sinking.

 

“Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.”  Here “cry” means “to shriek from anguish or danger.” Sometimes we find humor in someone who lets out such a cry when they face a present danger, but no one was laughing in the ship as the waves went up and down. Can we in corrections work learn from the response of this “nonplus” that the mariners faced?  God’s attributes are acknowledged as our pride is abased, crying out to the Lord. It is His desire that we cry out to Him in all situations, but sometimes it takes confounding predicaments to spur the total abandonment of our self-sufficiency.

 

The storms we find ourselves in may not cease immediately. The sea of corrections is often troubled, dark, and threatening, but God and His wonders are still there.  There is a comfort to us in His omniscience and omnipresence. As we cry out, we are truly glad to be brought out of our distresses, experiencing internal quietness that only He can supply.  

This post was written by
Founder of Heirs of Restraint Ministries & Missouri Correctional Officer

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