Thursday, June 21, 2012

At the Beach (Reprise)

 One summer Scott and I flew to San Diego to visit our cousin Zelda.  While there, we spent some time at the Pacific Ocean’s shore.  Just standing at a very small edge of this huge body of water was awe-inspiring.  Looking outward from my vantage point on the sand, I could not imagine the immensity of this vast body of water, stretching for thousands of miles in every direction.  I spent some time wandering along the shore, always looking out to the water.  The waves never ceased.  Constantly they rushed the beach, always the same, yet always different.  They followed one another, curling and rolling, white spray flying high.  White gulls skimmed the water’s surface, diving into the tops of the waves to capture fish for breakfast.  Each wave must have contained thousands of gallons of moving, roiling, rushing water.  Their strength amazed me.  Even when I stood ankle deep at the very edge of this ocean, the waves, running to the shore and then back home, pulled at me, nearly knocking me off my feet.  “Come out into the deep,” they seemed to say. The locals said, “Always face the waves.”  I learned to keep my eyes on the waves and never underestimate their power. 
I tried to discern a pattern in the way the waves ran at the beach, but the variety was endless.  They came in intervals—for a time many smaller waves hit the beach, then bigger waves—wave after wave—pounded the shore, rolling, breaking, rushing to the sands, and then retreating.

The sound of the waves was astounding. Right at my feet was always the soft, sibilant sound of waves running at the beach, scrubbing the sand, then running back home, pulled by the ocean as a small child runs back to her mother and father.  But farther out, where the waves curled on themselves and broke, the waters boomed and roared, boomed and roared.  Even from a half mile away their crashing noise echoed.   I closed my eyes and soaked in the sounds of this majestic ocean.  The early morning air was cool, and I basked in the amazing experience, wishing I could stay longer.  I stood, I looked, I listened, trying to absorb it all.

It occurred to me that the incredible beauty, immensity, and power of the ocean are, on a small scale, a reflection of our miraculous God.  When I stood on the beach and gazed at the ocean, it seemed so enormous, yet I viewed only an infinitesimal portion of this massive body of water. So it is with God.  We are privileged at times to catch glimpses of God’s immensity, but we see only a small portion.  We glimpse His power, yet we experience just a tiny glimpse of His majesty.  In Isaiah 45:15, we read, “Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel.”    Paul reminds us how little we know of our awesome God in I Corinthians 13:12.  “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

God, thank you for the tangible reminders of Your greatness.

Psalms 93:3-4 “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.”


  1. Nancy, my sister, Colette Rieck and her family lived in Wichita for years and year and her daughter recently moved back...they attended Wichita Bible church (if memory serves me correctly) and Lived on Sullivan Street when the kids were growing up - do you by chance know her?

    Marijo (Mary Jo) Phelps

  2. Jo, I can't say that I know your sister. Wichita is now around 350,000 population. I'm not sure where Sullivan Street is. I live on the west side and I taught high school at Heights, which is on the north edge of town. Perhaps your family can relate to that.