I’m at the beach for the 4th time in my life right now. Pretty sad considering I’m in my late 30’s. I have found that my preferred time to sit on the beach watching the waves is late at night after the commotion of the day has subsided. As I was watching the waves last night, I couldn’t help but ponder them. They are created out in the middle of the ocean where everything is calm. To look, we can’t see them being formed. Things under the surface start churning and a little ripple is started. As it moves across the the water, it builds with momentum but it still cannot be seen. It’s not until it is close to it’s final destination does it suddenly appear and burst forth; cascading upon the sand that eagerly awaits it.
As I watched each wave crash upon the shore only to subside again, I noticed how the water is only allowed to come up to a point, and then it is pulled back into the ocean. Even the mightiest wave cannot overstep its boundaries. They don’t stop, they keep coming over and over again. An endless serenade that was started at the dawn of creation that will continue to the end of time.
Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.
Then, I started to walk through the water. Not too far out since it was dark, but far enough out to feel the differing strength of the waves. Some of them were barely a ripple, yet some were strong enough to knock you off your feet … almost! Some came to the shore alone, and some merged with other waves; feeding off of the power of each other to generate more power. As I stood still, I noticed how my feet would sink in the sand with every receding wave. Deeper and deeper until there was no choice but to move to regain my balance. Walking, however, did not have the same effect. I didn’t sink. I had sure footing each time I took a step (pending no crabs or seaweed that would make me panic momentarily). The waves would still wash away the sand, but as long as I moved it wasn’t able to wash away the sand under my feet.
As I was looking at the waves, and all of the changes that are constantly in motion, I noticed the stars. The constant beacons that allow us to always have our bearings. They don’t change, they don’t take a day off, they don’t decide to move to a different constellation. They stay put, never changing. No matter the day of the week, month or year; no matter the city, state, country or continent, they never change. Each person looking to the sky will see the same thing. Steady and unwavering.
How different they are … the waves and the stars. As I was standing on the beach pondering the enormity of God’s creation; how big, how wide and how deep is His love; I noticed the similarity in the waves and our lives. Things start churning in our lives that go completely unnoticed. A spark when you met the special someone’s eyes, a desire to pursue a career, a home that you slowed down to look at. Those little ripples of life that start out unnoticed at first, but then build in momentum and power until the day of the wedding, or graduating from college, or finding the house your children will call home. These are the ripples that build under the surface at first until they burst forth into the designed plan that God has intended for us.
Too often I get discouraged with not seeing the hand of God moving in my life. I can become impatient making the assumption that since it is unseen, it is not there. But the same God who controls the waves of the ocean controls the wave of change in our lives. He starts with the little ripple beneath the surface, and although that ripple will continue to build, it won’t be seen until right before it comes to completion; crashing upon the shore. And even that ripple has an appointed time and appointed place that it will reach. It will never be allowed to go beyond what God himself has ordained.
Those ripples in our lives never stop. Sometimes, they are small, not threatening. Other times they meet up with other waves to be powerful enough to knock your feet out from under you. But through all of the waves of change, we must keep moving. Just like the waves will wash away the sand from beneath your feet, so will the circumstances of life. If we sit still, everything around us will put us deeper and deeper into the sand until we can’t get ourselves out. However, if we continue to move the wave doesn’t have the opportunity to wash away our footing. Even if we go in the wrong direction, we have the opportunity through the movement to turn around and go the other way.
With all of the waves, the good ones and the bad ones, we are given endless opportunities to change. But with that amount of chaos around us, it’s easy to get caught up in watching the waves and trying to anticipate where they will come from. Which ones will meet? Which ones will have a bigger impact? It can become so mesmerizing to focus only on the constant waves of change that we loose sight of why they are happening and how to navigate through them. We need to look away from the waves and look up to the constant, unchanging God that we have available to us. No matter when, where or how we find our lives at any given moment He is available to us as our beacon; steady and unwavering.
So, I don’t want to look at the changes in my life as something to have trepidations about. I don’t want to cower from the waves that come crashing to the shore, because I know that they will never be allowed to go farther than God allows. And as the waves crash around me, I will continue to move so that I don’t get stuck. And in all of this, I will look to the Heavens that are unchanging to be my guide.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”