The ocean beckons me to come, take it all in. Breathe in the freedom, the beauty, the power of it all. It’s one of my resting places. It’s also the place I feel closest to God. It’s like it’s God speaking, not just the ocean. He is here. He is all consuming. He is powerful. He is freedom. He is rest.
As I made my way down the steps, through the sand, far enough to peer around the corner, there it is, the whole view of the beach. You just have to pause and capture it for a moment.
I want to wade in the water and take it all in. It’s like a refreshing splash of waves on a hot day (not this day, it’s a bit cold for a swim).
Last weekend I attended the Faith and Culture Writers conference (which was phenomenal) and Deidra Riggs shared about how one morning God took her on a walk and she kept sensing that He was saying “Come closer” (not audibly of course but just a sense she kept getting). She left us with the question, “When God asks you to come closer will you say yes?”
As I looked down the long stretch of beach at Haystack rock far off in the distance I sensed God saying, “Come closer.” My first thought was, “That is too far to walk. I wonder how long it will take? It might start raining, it’s a bit cold.” There are always excuses. But I started to slowly walk, enjoying the sand and water beneath my feet, the breeze on my face; I pick up the pace a bit. “Come closer.” So now I’m walking at a quick rate. One of my favorite things to do is wander through the tide pools and if the tide stays out I know it’s going to be so fun to peruse through the pools at all the see creatures. The giant rocks look big and beautiful and yet small from such a distance away. The closer I get the bigger, the more vibrant, the more in awe of the giant rocks I become. Now I’m close enough to see that those white specks on that giant rock are birds. It’s alive with movement. I get closer still and I spot the colonies (if that’s what you call them) of beautiful sea stars or star fish as I call them; Bright orange and purple ones. It’s incredible how much more beautiful it is the closer you get. The tide pools are alive with so many species of fish, snails, sea stars, crabs, sea anemones, and so much more. I was so glad that I walked the long walk so that I wouldn’t miss the intricacies of what was beneath that big beautiful rock. If I had not gone closer I would have missed out on it all.
I turned to walk away and just stood still. As I stood still for a moment I noticed the trail of snail. I had never seen the trail of a snail before. I stood still to not miss this moment. The snail was moving ever so slowly but making progress nonetheless. Under another rock was a quick darting crab. He moved much faster than the snail but both were moving forward. I was reminded that sometimes our progress is slow but as long as we keep moving forward that’s all that matters. I get so caught up in moving so quickly from one thing to the other that I miss out on the incredible journey and the small things like watching snails. I moved to another rock and just stood still. I couldn’t believe it. There were so many fish and had I not stood still I would have missed them because they were blending right into the sand. What a treat!
As I turned to walk back to where I came from. I was filled with such awe of all the things that God had allowed me to see, to savor in those amazingly small little sea creatures tucked beneath that majestic rock. Had I not come closer and took the time to be still, I would have missed all those sweet moments. By now the clouds had parted and the sun was beating down on my back. It was like a warm hug from heaven really. After my 90-minute journey my legs were a bit tired (I clearly am in terrific shape) but I was so glad that I had followed the call to come closer, it was definitely worth it.
What about you? Is God calling you to come closer and be still?
(This post was from my personal spiritual retreat a couple weeks ago.)