Monday, January 28, 2019

Searching Out Peace.

I grew up in a pretty small town on the Southern Oregon Coast. I'm constantly surprised when I meet people who know where it is, or even better, know someone who lives there. It sits right up against another small town, of which all the schools are rivals, and right up against a fairly large bay on one side, with the ocean on the other.

The beaches there are incredible. Almost never warm, but still incredible. There are cliffs with tons of trees, and rocks and trails for climbing. There are tide pools galore both in secret little coves and in open areas right by the sand. There is a long jetty that is really fun to walk out on (though my dad never did like us doing that) and plenty of small caves to explore. There are large dunes, small dunes, dangerous dunes, and easily accessible dunes for any level of explorer. And the actual beaches, well they are beautiful too.

The Pacific Ocean is freezing cold though, which seems very normal to me. A friend from Virginia recently told me that it's abnormal for ocean water to be so cold! I cannot fathom walking into an ocean that is warm. So while many people surf along the Oregon coast, it is mostly done in a wetsuit, and even then it's chilly.

I don't remember how often we went to the beach when I was c kid, but I went with friends a lot in high school. I went with boys a lot too, though I was too good and too naive to even know how stupid I was often being. Thank the Lord for taking care of me and for those good guys who were genuinely kind and lovely.

The beach will always be a place of peace for me. It's a place where I see God and His power so clearly. I feel like I could sit in front of the waves for eternity and never tire. I don't believe I have ever left the ocean of my own free will.

I don't remember who I was with, but at some point during my late teens or early 20's (maybe it was even with my husband? - my poor old brain), I remember going to the beach really late at night. It was totally clear and there were so few lights anywhere else. The moon has not yet risen and the stars were in full glory. I felt like I was in a giant dome, or a little spec in one of those tiny snow globes. The sky seemed so round and it seemed impossible that all those stars were really as far away as my science teachers always said.

Little me, standing on the edge of a continent, on a small planet, in an unimaginably large universe, witnessing first-hand the beauty of God, knowing that He knew exactly where I was, what I was doing, and what I was feeling. While I felt very small, I also felt immensely loved.

While I've had less opportunity to go to the beach at night alone, or even just with one other person, I can still put myself there and remember that odd feeling of small glory. Within this suburban area where I live now, God can still pinpoint me just as easily, and that brings me peace.

It's not the ocean itself that brings peace. Sure, there are all kinds of research about the movement and sound of water that actually restores the brain, but I know it's because God made it to do so. He made the water to give life in SO many ways. And when Jesus says that we will never go thirsty when we drink from His well of life, we can understand Him more clearly because we see how vital water is. We know that water gives life; drunk, dipped in, felt, washed with, or listened to. Water is life only because He is life.

So now, even when I think of the ocean, I can feel it's peace washing over me all these miles from shore. God's peace has no bounds, God's love has no bounds, and God's mercy has no bounds. Nothing of God is bound by anything but love, holiness, and glory. It makes me sad I don't see it more often. But reminiscing tonight on just this one memory of His glory displayed on the edge of the beach is so precious to me. It reminds me that to meditate on Him is to receive from Him the things He knows we need. And He knows better than I do. How grateful I am for that!

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