I have a mixed relationship with the ocean. I love the sound of it and the cool feeling of it rushing against my feet and legs. I could walk along the beach and stare out at the ocean for hours. And I love the way my children and husband enthusiastically play among the lapping waves.
In spite of all of this, the ocean scares me a little. I am generally not a fearful person. I am a pretty strong swimmer. I spent my childhood summers participating in our neighborhood swim team and for two summers I was a lifeguard at a local pool. I am pretty sure that, if I really needed to, I could survive for a little while out among the waves. But the vastness, the power, and the uncertainty – they leave me with trepidation.
In many ways we know so much of what to expect from the ocean – charts and graphs can be made regarding the tides and maps and sonar can tell us where it is deep and shallow. Oceanographers can study all of it details and depths. But when it is just me out there standing among the waves and feeling the push and pull of the tide against my body I feel a little overwhelmed at times. Calmer bodies of water – rivers, lakes, pools, bathtubs ;), are much easier for me to handle.
As I mentioned, my children love to play in the ocean, and I did too as kid. The joys of it are not something I want to deprive them of experiencing. So, I made myself a promise – if they asked me to go out with them I would go. Maybe not as far or as deep as Daddy will take them, but I will go.
I have realized that the ocean is a metaphor for God in my life – His beauty, vastness, and power. He calls me to walk out into the water and trust His consistency and His power to work around me and through me if I am only willing to take the first steps. But it is those first steps that can be so scary.
In the midst of all His protection and love He is the one who is ultimately in control. I can try to make all the plans to safeguard myself. I can put on sunscreen and a hat and try to cover and protect myself and I can put on a life jacket and try to buoy myself above the waves that could push and pull me in so many different directions. But, in the end, the waves, and God, are so much more powerful than me.
Life is about trust, and prayer, and willingly taking those first steps to find out just what kind of adventure awaits. God calls us to both the scary and the beautiful, but it is only when we have walked among the waves and then stepped back to see the bigger picture that we realize just how wonderful and powerful He is.
I want to remember that each and every day He is working in my life in the combination and culmination of the scary and the beautiful. I want to keep going out among the waves and remembering my ever present God who has been and will be faithful every step of the way.