Every summer, I try to get to the ocean at least once, a beach to be exact. The expanse of water, waves that keep cajoling me to come closer to the ocean, the occasional sightings of dolphins, seagulls, and cranes make the visit feel like coming back in the presence of a great, old friend.
To me, it feels like a pilgrimage I need to make at least once a year, as it grounds me. Being in front of the ocean gives me perspective of who I am.
As my drive brings me closer to the ocean, my good old-fashioned olfactory nerves pick up the scent of the balmy, salty air, and my eyes begin to crave the glimpse of the beautiful ocean. At last, as my feet touch the sandy beach and my eyes finally see the ocean, I am engulfed by God’s presence; I promise I’ve never felt closer to my creator! The feeling is almost indescribable. I am in awe every single time I get to lay my eyes on an ocean, it’s the same way I feel when I see a newborn baby, every single time. How did God create such perfection? How did he make this universe and everything in it?
But, it’s not just awe that I feel in that moment, I feel equally terrified. The beautiful, vast ocean brings forth pounding waves that can knock you down senseless, even when you are careful! As peaceful as I feel looking at the ocean, I am terrified when I am in it. I am aware of the power the ocean has to sweep me away into the abyss. I am convinced in that moment of awe and terror that the same awe inspiring God who created EVERYTHING, has the power to do ANYTHING. To create and to destroy, if He pleases. To give and to take. And all I can do in that moment is to accept His majesty, beg for mercy, and thank Him, all in one breath!
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” Acts 17:24-25
When or where do you feel God’s presence most strongly? What do you feel in that moment? How do you respond to Him? Maybe the following lyrics written by Jon Shirley might capture some of what you and I feel…
The earth is filled with Your great grandeur, the stars above shine for You
And the world below responds in wonder, God!
And we’re all lost in You, in all You say and do
You are worthy of Your glory, God Almighty, You are Lord – forever
You’re robed in honor, You’re armed with power
God forever, You are Lord – forever
The waves resound, they pound Your praises, the flowers bloom, and stretch to You
Let everything you’ve made now praise You, God
Let all creation sing!
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