O, goodness. When life is like a fistful of jacks, jostling around in a child's sweaty palm and waiting to be thrown to the carpet - when life is like that, you get desperate for something steady. My first inclination is to pray for the jostling to come to a gentle stop because the obvious antidote to jostling is the opposite, no?
I recently scrawled this prayer,
Thank you, God, for your provision that steadies the seas so you are glorified in my sailing.
And then, I thought about my prayer. I tried to cut through my poetic tendencies to find out what my heart was saying (sometimes my pen gets carried away and wants the words to read like a song). I thought about my prayer of thanksgiving for steady seas, paused, then added,
Thank you, too, for "steady enough" to sail through the thickest of storms looming on the horizon.
If I only thank the Lord for steadying the seas, then I would be silent while I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I was offering God thanksgiving that depended on His actions (and my judgment of them) and not on His character. God is always able to steady the seas, but sometimes He instead steadies the boat. When we pray desperately for Him to stand up and lift His hands to silence the storm, sometimes He simply readies the boat to weather the waves.
I am thankful He provides and protects, but if my thanksgiving is dependent on the existence of storms, I will end up feeling abandoned. His provision and protection are simply part of His character - He will never not be Provider and Protector.
We can always describe the Lord as being steadfast - His love never ceases. During the storms? He is steadfast. During the stillness? He is steadfast.
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5 ESV)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
We must always remember that it is appropriate to be thankful for who God is even when we are hoping for His character to provide or protect in a specific way. The raging storm is not evidence of His carelessness.
God is always able to steady the seas, but sometimes instead he readies the boat to weather the storm.