By Dane Skelton
Turmoil. Strife. Grief. Anxiety. Are you acquainted with any of these? Ah well, if you live on planet earth you will know them from time to time. How do you soothe them? Where do you find solace? Allow me to recommend the sea.
Few things soothe a soul like the sea. A trip to the coast is an opportunity to engage with God through the majesty of his creation on a level that is difficult to achieve in a neighborhood crowded with houses or even from a tree stand in quiet woods waiting for a big buck. The sea speaks with a voice unequaled by any other element except possibly the sky – but that is an article for another day.
Standing on the shore, facing out to sea feet planted inches from the breaking waves with the world of men behind and nothing but sun, sky and water before the disordered parts of your soul begin to settle down.
I think I know why. See if you agree.
The sea is expansive. It speaks of the omnipresence of God. It is massive, huge, immense, all encompassing, filling the field of view until it disappears over the horizon. The largest ships look like tiny toys across the distant waves.
The sea tells us nothing is too big for God. Nothing happens that is outside of his perception. Nothing happens in our life that is beyond his field of view.
The sea is constant, or more accurately, constantly in motion, ever moving yet never moved. It speaks of the unchanging God. The shore is never silent. Even on dead calm days the quiet lapping of water on sand or rock is present. It is unchallengeable, indisputable, unchanging. On stormy days it reminds us of our storm tossed lives. But even then it does not change. The waves gather and curl and crash into each other and finally spill themselves onto the sand to instantly disappear, their fury spent their conflict gone. So too our lives but the sea, the life upon which all other life depends, lives on.
God is constant. God does not change. Our lives toss about, curling and crashing into one another, spending our energies in furious conflict. And then they are gone, the fury spent, the conflict finished. But God remains. He is constant.
The sea is powerful. Its purposes are never thwarted. You can feel it, standing there at the top of the tide. Your visceral senses tell you, “this thing can go where ever it wants and take you along with it.” When sun and sea, pressure and temperature meet in perfect hurricane pitch nothing can stand in its way. Only God is more powerful. He marks the boundaries of the sea. It travels not one inch further than he chooses. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. (Ps 33:7 NIV)
The sea is majestically powerful. It speaks of the omnipotent God. Nothing he has called us to is too hard for him to help us with. Nothing can reach past the boundaries he places around our lives without his permission.
The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea-- the LORD on high is mighty. (Ps. 93:3-4 NIV)
Turmoil, grief, strife, anxiety make the list longer if you want. I recommend the sea. Nothing is too big for God. Nothing changes God. Nothing is too powerful for God.