Ocean interlude

Notes from a writing journey

You have always loved the ocean. Most often, you have enjoyed its great expanse as you walk along the beach, the warm sand between your toes. Stretching out from the shoreline, nothing but shades of green and blue as far as you can see.

You don’t control the ocean; that is what you have always loved about it. No one controls the sea; only God. The waves roll in and they roll out – all day, every day. You can’t stop them, and you can’t distract them from their purpose.

You jump into your small ship. Another journey, another adventure. Out on the water, the small ship of life rocks gently on the calm water. But, as you lay with your hands behind your head, you recall that the last time you were in this boat, you were in the midst of the storm and the rocking felt very different.

In fact, you recall that in the midst of that darkest of storms, you felt like you could not catch your breath. You did not die – you never drowned – but for hours, weeks, even months, you felt like you could never quite breathe enough to survive. Slowly, and not without grief and pain, you ultimately made it all the way through the eye of the storm and emerged on the other side.

Once again, you find yourself sailing on perfectly calm water. And, for the moment, you sail on the calm water, appreciating the peace and beauty. Occasionally, small white caps rock your boat, but only gently. The boat is comfortable, and the temperature is perfect.

You look behind your boat and gaze across the horizon. You search for the evidence of the dark clouds and torrential downpour through which you made your journey. You do not wish to feel the sting of the rain again or the loneliness of the darkness. But you do find yourself longing for the feeling of being held so tightly by the One who will never let you go. Out here on the calm waters you know He is still near, but His presence is not nearly as strong. As your little boat gently rocks, you are finding yourself having to make an effort to speak to Him each day, to communicate and abide with Him. Here, as you lay on the deck in the warm sun, you occasionally see where He is sitting and talk to Him, but it is nothing like when you were being engulfed by water, gasping for breath, knowing that the vast wide sea could swallow you any moment. You knew, in that moment, that your only hope was to cling tightly to the only One in this universe who can say, “Peace, be still.”

There is no better feeling than the warm sun kissing your face. You realize that the Lord controls that, too, and the warm sun on your cheek is a gentle reminder that He loves you. Whether His arms are tightly wrapped around you as you fight to survive, or whether you feel free to breathe and relax with the sun warming your face, He is always there with you.

In that moment, you fully realize that it is because of the storm – not in spite of it – that the sun’s warm kiss, the smell of the salty water, and the gentle lull of the waves, taste sweeter than ever before.

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