graves into gardens

Watch Him Turn a Sea into a Highway

One of my favorite worship songs of all time is “Graves Into Gardens” by Elevation Worship.  

The bridge is my favorite part, and it goes like this:


You turn mourning to dancing

You give beauty for ashes

You turn shame into glory

You’re the only one who can


You turn graves into gardens

You turn bones into armies

You turn seas into highways

You’re the only one who can


To me, it’s a song about what God can do, and the seeming impossibility of it all.

Just the name “Graves into Gardens” suggests the ability to turn something sad and dark into something beautiful.

But the line that sticks with me most is “you turn seas into highways.”

It’s one that always conjures an image for me.

While I assume the line is in reference to when God used Moses to part the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to escape Egypt, I picture it differently.

I imagine myself in the middle of huge body of water. I look side to side, seeing no land, no boats, no way to get to safety. I am treading water, and then God tells me to run.

“Run?” I ask, “don’t you mean swim?”

He assures me he means run.

“But I’m in the middle of the water. My feet aren’t even touching the ground. Won’t I sink?”

Start running.

And so I do.

I pump my arms and kick my legs, doing my best to mime running in the water. And sure enough…I start sinking. The frantic motion no longer allows me to tread water but concede to it. I start sinking and so I start panicking, but I still hear that call to keep running. So I do.

And suddenly, my feet touch the ground. I have traction. My legs still move slow, as the water adds a lot of resistance, but I pump one leg after the other.

And then suddenly, I have breath. I can breathe. I am no longer underwater. But I am somehow still touching the ground. I feel the weight of the water release me, starting at my shoulders and working its way down. The water is draining, the resistance is weakening.

Soon, the water is just a puddle at my feet and I’m running, full speed, on solid ground. I don’t know if behind me the water is parted, like the Red Sea, or if the entire body of water has simply disappeared. I just imagine myself running, free, uninhibited, on an open road.

This is how I imagine God turning a sea into a highway. How he can turn a scary, seemingly inescapable place, into a route towards something good. And while the way there might not make sense, or might seem to take us somewhere lower, somewhere harder, before we get there, God is with us and we can trust Him.

He can turn seas into highways, graves into gardens, shame into glory.

And He’s the only one who can.