I kind of love the ocean. The stillness of the shore, the breathless salt air whipping along the coast. It’s almost as if that little strip of land knows the relentless ferocity of the waves pounding just feet from its unbrushed sand, and its only response is to create a whole world of serene beauty to fill the gap. That’s where I like to be. Somewhere between land and sea. Because it feels safe, and I feel small. A captivating beauty and an untamed power restrained by laws I have no words to explain. There’s a goodness to it all, the not knowing, the stillness, a soul overwhelmed with awe. It’s in this place, the in between, that I sit and do the very thing I was created to do. Worship. Draw Near.
In my restless working and carrying on and moving up and doing more and trying harder and becoming something wholly new, I forget that I am known by God. I am known by God. And shouldn’t that change everything? Arresting my heart and soul and life to follow a rhythm that is altogether closer, slower, and more love filled than the one my schedule demands. Because when I look at the ocean, I see something that is unpredictable and untamed, but it is also restrained. It has limits and boundaries and borders, and even though it has a weight that my mind can’t contain, it is controlled. It knows its place. The ocean itself stands in awe of the One who holds it together, and His beauty commands our attention and obedience on a deeper level than the seas.
I forget that. I forget that those stinging, salty winds tearing through towns and creating waves that swell and roar with intensity know the voice of God. They exist to worship Him, and bring all of creation to do the same. The God who carved the mountains and painted the majesty of the sea, who brings redeeming light to the darkest and most broken places in the world. This is their King. More often than not, I find myself working and trying and existing to prove my worth and my value and my identity while shoving the whole idea of God’s greatness into a box of to-dos on a long list of other things that I desperately want to give more attention.
See, this is not what I was made to be. I wasn’t made to find hope in a career path, or a test, or any relationship, or praise, or all the things I stack higher and higher on the crumbling pile of my own accomplishments. Because, if we miss God, if we don’t live for the purpose that He gives, if we miss the awe and the intensity of His love for us, then we miss everything. Because He’s everything.
All the trying and working and doing, is worthless and unnecessary because if we have God we have proven worth in Him, and we can rest in a steady awe that we are doing what we were created to do. God doesn’t call us to throw away the talents and beauty and individuality and passion He has given us, but His beauty demands an attentive focus to His heart for our lives and for the world. So, here’s my prayer. Let me remember the heaviness of my sin, how I have wronged God in soul and heart, how I deserve to look at God and see danger and judgement, but instead I see something different. Because He sent His son to die and pay for the weight of all the times I fought with every part of my being against a God who only desired to bring me near. His death for my life. Let my heart feel that kind of relentless love. Let me remember that His death was the sacrifice that paved the way for my forgiveness, and His resurrection gives me an unshaken promise of the love of God. Because this is the way that God looks at me. Not with cold expectations, but with an incomparable love-filled nearness.
And then that safe, small place on the shore becomes all the more safe and all the more comfortable and all the more beautiful. But, our souls ache deeply to be swept up in the beauty of the ocean and feel the salty water on our skin. Sitting on the shores of something overwhelmingly beautiful fills our hearts to the brim, but we can’t stay on the shore when we long to be immersed in a purpose that is greater than I. Because there in the stillness and worship of the shore, we feel the call of the ocean. There is danger and power and uncertainty, but when were made for the water, nothing will keep us from it. The purest worship of God pulls us into step with His heart for transforming a broken world into something beautiful and bringing a glimmering hope to people living in deep darkness. This is the ocean of purpose placed in our shaky hands. But we are not alone. The God of the ocean knows us. He knows us. And even more, He loves us. I think that’s why I love the ocean.
He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” -Luke 8:25