If you are having trouble hearing God, might I suggest a little trip to the ocean? There’s just something about standing at the edge of the shore, gazing over what appears to be endless water simply (or profoundly) stretched before me. Looking up at the unobstructed view of an endless sky. And because of the particular angle of my beach of choice (Sanibel Island, Florida), I’m privileged to be able to witness both the sunrise and the sunset each day, accompanied by their breath-taking hues and unique designs.Then add to that view the sound of the waves crashing and the smell of the salty air…I don’t know what it is, people, but for me it just doesn’t get any more God-ish than this.
I must admit however, in the early years of my King-James-Only brand of Christianity, I didn’t really “get it” when people told me they felt close to God in nature. Quite honestly, that sounded like a bad combination of Tree Hugger and New Age to me.
No thank you.
I’m sticking with REAL theology, thankyouverymuch.
Nothing but the Bible for me.
“since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20)
I suppose it would have been nice of me to actually consult the Word of God before I made such harsh, legalistic judgments about what it doesn’t say. Sigh…..Thank you, Lord, for your grace and patience with me. When will I ever be free from this pride of mine???
Anyway, back to the beach…
So, every single time I step onto the sand and hear that amazing music of the ocean, it feels to me like a direct connection to God’s throne room. Perfect clarity. Perhaps it’s because I feel so
and I’m reminded that God is so
Or maybe because there’s nothing man-made that compares to the beauty of God’s creation. I mean, seriously, have you ever considered how crazy-creative God must be to have thought all of this stuff up???? From grains of sand to seashells to sand fleas to dolphins to water to sea turtles to storm clouds to lightening to butterflies to palm trees to crabs to seagulls?
“But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. (Jeremiah 10:12)
It blows my mind when I gaze up to the sky and realize that God’s breath…(His BREATH!!!) formed the blazing sun, as well as billions of others bigger and hotter than it. Just take a deep breath, the biggest one you can muster, and blow right now. Any fire? A spark? Yeah, me neither. Consider the sheer power God must have to breathe stars into existence.
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (Psalm 33:6)
I anticipated this last trip to the beach more than almost any other I can recall. Because of our need to save money for the adoption of our daughter, we chose not to take a family vacation last year. In addition to that, or possibly because of that, I have been going through a tough time emotionally. I actually began to question–believe it or not–whether God’s word and some of His promises to me were really able to work for me. I knew His promises were true, but it seemed like God wasn’t coming through for me in some areas I thought He should.
That first morning on the beach, as I set out for my daily walk, I felt a bit like Job. God had patiently allowed me for months to pour out my complaints to Him. My questions, my concerns, my doubts. But as I took in the sheer power of His creation, I recalled what He spoke to Job out of the storm:
“He said:”Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38:1-11)
Can you imagine having God say to you, “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me”?
And that was only the beginning of what God spoke to Job. He goes on for four chapters. That must have been an incredibly long four chapters for our man Job.
Well, I sort of felt like that on my first morning on the beach. I heard God saying through His creation
I am really big,
I am really wise,
I am really loving,
I am really creative,
I am really capable,
I am really sufficient for you, Sandy.
Dear Lord, help me wrap my mind around that. Better yet, help me to apply that to my life:
Like maybe when I’m praying about all my stuff, I don’t need to suggest possible solutions or question Your methods. Or maybe I can actually trust you for, say, ANYTHING that I need and EVERYTHING you promise. And maybe this little life of mine with all its little irritations is really part of something incredible that You are doing. And maybe eternity is so exciting and amazing and simply mind-blowing that if I could just get a glimpse of it, one little glimpse of it, I may not care so much that the master bath needs to be cleaned or the basket of clothes and shoes (which has been sitting in my bedroom for a month) still needs to be put away. And maybe if I really got a glimpse of what You are doing and how BIG and INCREDIBLE You are, I’d be more excited to tell others about You. I’d be more inclined to get on board with Your plan for me. Maybe if I’d take the time to consider Your bigness and my smallness, I wouldn’t be so full of myself…but more full of You.
Deep breath…exhale…still no flames.
Today, I’m choosing to believe my God.
P.S. My reading recommendation for today is “I Am Not, But I Know I Am” by Louie Giglio. Fabulous read if you want God to blow you away with His bigness.