I have never been to Niagara Falls, but those who have been, tell me it’s breathtaking. With 681,750 gallons of water per second cascading over the main Horseshoe Falls; collecting itself tumultuously at its base; and creating the sound of many waters, I would imagine it’s both overwhelming and deafening at the same time. This is how John described Jesus’ voice when he heard Him speak on the island of Patmos: “. . .and His voice as the sound of many waters. . .” Revelation 1:15.
John was undone and fell at Jesus’ feet as dead. But Jesus laid His right hand on John and began to speak. An encounter with God can often begin in an overwhelming sound of many waters; as the Psalmist said, “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me.” Psalm 42:7. This calling of deep unto deep, I believe, is to break up our captivity. He is calling to the deep places inside of us from the deep places inside Himself. He is overwhelming.
If you have ever been tumbled in a wave at the beach, it is quite disorienting. The force of the wave tumbling you around quickly confuses your sense of up and down. The best thing to do is go limp and let it pass over you, rather than fight against it. Jesus’ voice has much more power than any wave of the sea, carrying much greater force, too. As the sound of many waters, we may find ourselves, like John, as it were, dead at His feet, but definitely ready to listen as we come alive in His voice.
I believe Jesus often comes in the midst of our chaos with a disruptive sound in order to loosen us from the sound of despair and defeat that’s holding us. He steps into our prison, shaking the very foundation with His voice as He opens the door to our soul. Like the day of Pentecost, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2), so Jesus can come with a jarring “suddenly” into our unsuspecting lives.
Why so big? Why not send the Holy Spirit gently, quietly, and without fanfare –after all, you’ve heard He is a gentleman, right? No, He is a liberator. He’s gentle, yes; but He also knows how to make an entrance, command our attention, and distribute His voice. He brings freedom; He brings Jesus!
At the marriage supper of the Lamb, the Church will have a voice of many waters, too. We will have matured into the voice of Jesus. “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’” (Revelation 19:6).
So let’s work this backwards; in whatever state I may find myself, cast down or disquieted in my soul (Psalm 42:5), I can declare Jesus’ victory, His lovingkindness, His faithfulness, His goodness, and His omnipotent reign. As I do so, there comes a time when His voice speaks over mine. When it does, that’s when disruption transforms into freedom. He literally will empower my timid praise with His voice, loud and clear! After I recover, I will see clearly, hear clearly, and understand fully His glorious work. I am then moved from being shut down, shut up, and shut out into the glorious liberty of Jesus Christ. I am carried by the Spirit into new heights of revelation and transformation. I am free.
If we will be shouting victory at our marriage feast with the Lamb, I am sure we can begin practicing now! Since “God has gone up with a shout” (Psalm 47:5a), then let us clap our hands, “all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph” (Psalm 47:1).
As His voice overtakes you, just let go, and let God take you up. . . Higher than your problems, and into His very triumph!