I’m a midwestern girl. Born, raised, married and will more than likely grow old and die in the same midwestern state. Once every few years I get a hankering to experience something outside of my normal hills, trees, and humidity. So we hop in our car and drive to the ocean.
The ocean is intimidating to me. I guess it’s the unfamiliarity I have with it. I’ve learned I don’t know what I need to know to really be “safe” in it. Things like a “warning flag for dangerous animals” really does mean something… hello jellyfish stings. Riptides exist and could kill me. I can get farther from the shore than I care to be, quicker than I thought I could, and experience waves bigger than I want to experience in a short time with a boogie board and a 9 year old girl.
So my respect-for/ fear of the ocean is probably healthy for a landlubber like me.
But one thing about the ocean that draws me back to dip my toes in it time after time is it’s immensity. Usually my first few minutes of visiting the ocean is spent standing at the edge with my mouth slightly agape in a smile. “Wow” usually slips from my lips. I stare and focus as far out as I can to see ships that I know are bigger than my house but appear to be the size of a bobber in a pond near where I call home. I think of all the sea animals that are out there, how I’m just one little dot on an enormous map looking out at something that connects me to another small dot(person) standing on their shore miles and miles away who doesn’t look anything like me, talk like me, have customs like me, etc.
I know, I know, I probably analyze things too much. But it’s only for a second, then it’s to the business at hand, wading in the water looking for shells and crabs amongst the waves that crash against my legs and knock me around.
So I read a quote this morning from a book I’m reading about discipleship of women. The quote is, ““If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and assign them tasks and work but rather teach them to long for the immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint- Exupery. It really struck a chord with me. Just like my occasional venture to the ocean is brought on by a desire for adventure, our spiritual lives are spurred on by the desire for something much grander and more splendid than the lives we trudge through on the regular. My lack of excitement in my pursuit of God is often fed by my contentment to stay in the safety of my spiritual “mid western” state. It’s easier at times to stay far inland where the risk of something much bigger than me is far, far away. But God has put in each of us a desire for “the immensity of the sea”. Not only does He want us to stand on the shore of experiencing Him and admire His greatness, He wants us to explore the depths of His oceans of love. This takes leaving behind the comfort of my predictable life and pursuing the direction my adventure guide, the Holy Spirit, leads me. That’s not always comfortable or familiar, but it is oh so very good!
There are times this exploration leaves me a little shook up by the waves knocking against my legs, but if I persist in my exploration of all His goodness I will find treasures that few people experience. It is then, when I explore Him in His greatness that I understand that there is nothing bigger than Him and His love for me. It will take a life time to explore, a lifetime of inexplicable treasures and joy for me as I pursue to understand the “immensity of His sea”.
“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”
Psalm 8:1-4 NIV