It’s been another challenging day. I won’t recount the details here, but instead choose to direct my attention to something that gives me inspiration.
This is the third installment in my “Breathtaking Beauty” series, where I take some time to admire the Lord’s creative handiwork in nature.
I took this photo in Carmel, California. I remember it was a similarly difficult day, and I just needed to get away from everything. I hopped in the car with a friend of mine, and we drove to the beach. Normally, it can be tough to get the perfect combination of weather in Carmel: blue skies, warm weather, and little or no wind. However, on this day, the weather was just flawless.
I mean, FLAWLESS. Temperatures in the mid-70s (Fahrenheit), clouds barely discernible in the sky, and an ever-so-slight breeze. Also – as far as the eye could see – miles upon miles of pristine water from the beautiful Pacific.
Also, the beach was quiet. My friend and I were fortunate to go to Carmel during an off-peak time, and it wasn’t crowded. You could just sit there quietly and collect your thoughts, with minimal interruption.
For a long time, I sat there, staring at the water. For me, there’s something about the ocean that is deeply calming; also, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, I experience God’s presence in a very powerful way there, too.
After I’d been there for about thirty minutes, a bird landed right next to my beach towel. It turned its little head to look at the waves – and for several minutes, the bird and I both gazed upon the waters, in a companionable silence:
The bird hung out there for awhile. I was very aware of its presence; note that the bird wasn’t scavenging for food, or doing anything to draw attention to itself – it was just there.
It was at that time that I sensed that the Lord was letting me know that everything was going to be alright. The same God who created this beautiful vista before my eyes (and the bird’s eyes!) had the challenging circumstances of my life well in hand, too.
I left Carmel that day feeling uplifted and hopeful. The next several months were still very challenging, but during the turbulent times, I could cast by mind back to that moment by the beach and begin to experience some peace.
So today, I look at this photo and I’m thankful for the memory. Today was hard, but I can remember that moment by the beach, and choose to believe that God is letting me know that things are still going to be alright. I may not feel that way in my emotions, but my faith tells me that God has a plan, and I need to trust Him. I don’t always understand (or particularly like) it, if I’m honest, and there are many times when I question it. However, I am holding on to the firm conviction that God does have a plan and He is working things out in a way that can only make sense to a totally sovereign, all-powerful God.
I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t hurt, though. It does. It is very hard. But it’s also a reminder that this earth is not my eternal home – for those of us who choose to follow Jesus, we are just passing through. Something much better awaits us on the other side of eternity.
Here’s my prayer for today: Thanks, Lord, for bringing the encouraging memory from my Carmel trip to mind today. You know that I needed something to cling to in the midst of this storm – something tangible to give me hope.
I ask that You give me a new experience of You in nature, to help me push through the stormy weather that I’m experiencing in my life now. I also ask for Your peace to fill me as I wait in hopeful expectation for You to intervene in my circumstances in a powerful way. In Your name I pray, Amen.