He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
"Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens. They go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end" (Psalm 107:23-27 NKJV).
In this psalm, the place called "wit's end" is on a ship's deck in a storm-tossed sea. Giant waves carry the ship up to the heavens then drop it down to the depths. Powerful winds toss it back and forth so that none of the sailors can find their "sea legs." They stagger across the deck like drunken men.
The ship's sails are tattered and ripped, and wave after powerful wave crashes onto the deck. The sailors have to struggle just to hold on. It looks like it's all over for them, and they're in total despair. They are helpless, vulnerable to the power of the elements, unable to stop the storm, powerless to save themselves.
These sailors have come to a place called "wit's end." It is a condition that afflicts all Christians at one time or another. This phrase means simply, "having lost or exhausted any possibility of perceiving or thinking of a way out." In short, it is the end of all human ability and resources. There is no escape, no help, no deliverance other than in God Himself!
Perhaps You Have Already Arrived at "Wit's End"
Like the sailors aboard the ship, you have simply been going about your business, moving on in your walk with Jesus. Then one day, out of nowhere, a storm hit, and waves of trouble came crashing down on you from all sides.
Life's troubles seldom come one at a time. They're like the waves in a storm, coming one after another, fast and furious, mounting higher and higher. It's as if the sun has gone down, the air has turned cold and icy, and the winds of trouble have begun beating down. Like the sailors in Psalm 107, your "...soul is melted because of trouble..." (verse 26). (The Hebrew word for “melt” here means "fainting with fear.")
I must note: God himself has initiated this storm. "...For he commands and raises the stormy wind..." (verse 25). He's the one who brought the sailors to this place. He's the one raising the wind, stirring up the waves, tossing the ship. It is all his doing.
This can be a great encouragement to our faith whenever troubles hit us from all sides. We have the knowledge that all troubles and storms in life have been ordained by God for those who walk in righteousness. They aren't caused by the devil or some particular sin. Rather the Lord has brought us to wit's end, and he has a purpose in it all.
"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12-13).
God is not surprised by your ordeal. In fact, it is happening because he wants to produce something in your heart and to reveal his glory in you.
You may feel it is absolutely the worst storm in your life. Your trial may be a financial struggle, business troubles, slander, family problems or a personal tragedy. You go to bed at night with a restlessness inside, a cloud hanging over you. When you awaken, the dull ache is still with you, and it keeps hanging on until one day you wake up crying, "God, how much more do I have to endure? How long will you allow me to go through this? When will it all end?"
When did the storm stop for the sailors in Psalm 107? When did God bring them into their desired haven? According to the psalmist, two things happened:
- First, the sailors came to their wits' end, giving up on all human hope or help. They said, "There's no way we can save ourselves. Nobody on earth can get us out of this."
- Second, they cried to the Lord in the midst of their trouble, turning to Him alone for help.
"Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, snd He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven" (Psalm 107:28-30).
If you are a true child of God, if you're set on allowing him to mold you into the image of the Son, then your battle won't stop until you give up trying to figure it all out and throw yourself completely into God's care. Until he has accomplished his eternal purposes in you, your troubles will only continue to rage.