An Atlantic shore town, off-season, is a splendidly deserted place. For all the silence and solitude – the unchanging traffic lights and unlit homes – there’s an undeniable sense of adventure in the relentless pounding of surf, the cry of hungry gulls.
Toes in cool sand at the foamy edge of the ocean, I feel wind and power, but I also feel my own smallness. Vast sky above, measureless water ahead, I am inconsequential to the unstoppable force that is tide and current and weather. I embrace this knowledge, but only here, where the things bigger than me are too beautiful to begrudge.
When I’m home, in normal life, it’s different. Molehills look like mountains, and I’m chief of them all. Struggles surround me like jagged peaks – Urgent, Exhausting, Overwhelming, Unsolvable.
At home I forget the greater realm of reality, where all that is, has been before.
I lose sight of the source of power from whence the waves swell. I forget, as Job did,
…who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed? (Job 38:8-11)
Sink, or Sail?
Tim and I are here, at the beach, for 5 days. Without children. I almost feel guilty for experiencing such a deep level of relief.
We try to get away at some point every year, usually in early spring, but rarely for more than a weekend. This particular trip feels like an indulgence because of its length, and also its location. As I write, this is my view:
This morning we took a long, honest look at finances. The prognosis isn’t favorable. Truth be told, it’s far graver than anticipated. We face major challenges, and changes, if we hope to stay afloat.
I have every (human) reason to fret. Were I at home, shackled with the duties and strains of regular routine, fret I would. Money would be one more mountain exploding from the earth, spewing ash and lava, no doubt.
But I’m not fretting, not in this place of big sky and big sea and big perspective. When I gaze out at the wide horizon, I see all that has brought us to this place. Our past is saturated with faithful provision from the Wave Maker, but that story doesn’t even take me past the breakers. His love and victory and hope and strength stretch to the horizon and beyond, heralding truth that makes our anemic earthly wealth seem as paltry and temporal as it really is.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the LORD on high is mighty! (Psalm 93:4)
When we return home on Monday, there will be no buffer. Schoolwork, groceries, laundry, and life will bombard me without mercy, and I’ll fight to retain my grip on perspective. Eventually, my fingers will slip, and the landscape will look far more like mountains than seas.
I’m writing this post as a reminder, like stones piled high by the shore:
You are small, but He is big.
You are weak, but He is strong.
You are frightened, but He is faithful.
Feel the wind. Taste the waves. Breathe the salt air.
And remember the One who made them all.