October 19:  Isaiah 55:8–9


Isaiah 55:8–9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

by: Brian Bethke

During Marine Combatant Divers School in Panama City, Florida my underwater navigation skills were tested. I was transported with my fellow reconnaissance students, at night, to a location thousands of meters off of the coast and cast into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We all were paired up and each pair was attached to each other by a 10-foot nylon rope appropriately named “the buddy line”. During dive mission evaluations only one person in each pair was given an underwater compass board to navigate. The other person’s job was to go along for the ride in the case of an emergency. Both people were given depth gauges. The task was to navigate underwater to a pier in a certain amount of time. Failure to navigate to the pier accurately or within the time limit was considered a failure.

As I oriented myself to the pier, I acquired an azimuth and went underwater. As soon as I descended into the water column the surface noises disappeared and were replaced with the sound of my re-breathing dive apparatus. The distant, muffled sounds of boat engines could be heard ever so faintly. The water was so dark and the only thing discernable with the human eye were the reflective lights cast by the thousands of jelly fish that surrounded us. Every now and then I would feel a strong current rush past me. Was it a dolphin? Was it a seal? Was it a shark? Perhaps it was generated by my imagination and fueled by my fear? Regardless of what it was I pushed on.

I was coming near to the end of my dive but I was not at the pier yet. I had done this dive before and had become familiar with the underwater topography. I knew I was in the area but something was not right. I began to frantically swim searching for the pier. The uncomfortable environment of the underwater world only exacerbated my anxiety. As my worry reached a fever pitch, my buddy swam over and tapped on his depth gauge and my compass board. He reminded me to trust in my instruments. I reacquired my azimuth, looked at my depth gauge, and made it to the pier. Later I found out from the instructors that I was right in front of the pier going in circles.

Christian, life sometimes feels like an extreme challenge or a test. We enter the waters of life, acquire a God directed azimuth, and descend into the unknown. The things in this life can overwhelm us and overload our human faculties. Fear, anxiety, and exhaustion take us off course. Circumstances stoke an emotionally rollercoaster that has us questioning everything. It gets to the point where we are questioning our questions. It is as this point we frantically search to get back on course. We often search using old tools of the old thought process. It is important that we reacquire our azimuth! We must look to our unchanging God and explore His thoughts. We must jettison the weight of fear, anxiety, and distrust and don the joy we have in Christ. We must trust Him. We must trust His thoughts over ours. His plans over ours. His will over ours. If we do not, we are doomed to swim in circles of despair and depression when God’s directed destination is right in front of us. In his grace he has given us “buddies” in Christ to help us along the way. God is not just sovereign over the ends but He has also ordained the means. Trust Him.

How is your dive mission going?


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  1. Reply
    Tim Peirce says

    Great stuff, Brian. Without His word, prayer, and the fellowship I have with other believers I’m swimming in circles.

  2. Reply
    Jabi says

    Jehova Jireh. The Lord provides.

  3. Reply
    david wayman says

    I value greatly this depth of experience, the application and Isaiah’s truth – we can trust
    our God.

  4. Reply
    Holly Carman says

    I agree with Tim – I am so grateful for Christian fellowship. God doesn’t expect us to live out life alone!

  5. Reply
    Danielle says

    Thank you Brian for your continued excellent analogies taken from your experiences that highlight a verse or a point God is making in our lives. The fact that in this blog you used my favorite trusted and go-to verse was perfect :). I am an Isaiah 55:8-9 girl through and through …

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