October 13th 2015 No comments yet
I’m on the beach as I write this, at the tail end of a wonderful family vacation. I have spent every waking moment with my parents and brother, but this morning is me time. I walk the beach, picking up a seashell here and a piece of sea glass there, and I ponder life through the lens of this place. Our lives ebb and flow like the surf; our footprints show the path we have traveled, but do not yet mar the way ahead; our sand castles can only withstand the waves if built on firm ground.
I think what strikes me the most in this moment is the always-ness of the ocean. The ocean is always there, always moving, always protecting and destroying, predictable and terrifying. I may leave the beach, but the beach will never go away. Its memory will stay with me, though it will never be as powerful as the moment I stood on the edge of the water, hearing the waves crash and feeling the sand between my toes. The ocean is dangerous for the foolhardy but comforting to the wise. Everyone who comes to the beach is looking for something different, bringing the things they think they need in order to enjoy their time there. The ocean accepts every one of them, and if they stay long enough, it convinces them that all they really needed to bring was themselves.
Now read that paragraph again. Replace all references to the “ocean” and the “beach” with “God.” It paints a strong picture, doesn’t it?
How many times have I shown up at God’s feet with everything I think I need to be accepted? Look at my accomplishments. Look at this and that good deed I’ve done. Look at all the money I worked so hard for, the best school I went to, the giant house I’m living in. See how good I am at my job? All the people around me love me for these reasons. You should, too.
I have found during my time at the beach that the easiest sand to walk on is the wet sand at the edge of the water. It gets more and more difficult to walk the more dry the sand becomes. Likewise, in life, I find that when things are becoming burdensome, it is because I am no longer walking on the firm sand at the water’s edge, but trudging through the dry sand further inland. If you’ve walked on dry sand before, you’ll remember how exhausting it is. So is life without God firming up your path. Sometimes I’m so wrapped up in myself, it takes me a while to realize I’ve wandered so far from the shore. But once I do, and I make my way back to Him, the relief is instantaneous.
There is one way, though, that the ocean differs from God. When I come to the edge of the water, the first waves that splash my feet are cold and shocking, and they make me want to scurry away. God is always the opposite. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been gone a minute, hour, week, year, or lifetime. The second we step back into His presence, His love and warmth envelops us, and makes us want to never leave again.
Written by Michelle Sweeten
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