I had the privilege of spending a week in St. Augustine, Florida, this month. We went to visit friends for the daughter’s high school graduation, and naturally we spent some hours on the beach.
This is the first time I’ve been to a beach in warm weather (well, since I was four years old, and I barely remember that). I loved waking early to watch the sun rise like a ball of glowing lava over the quiet ocean. Walking the shore at night with the water pulling the sand from beneath my feet and the stars pin-pricking the sky. Mixing water with dry sand to reach the perfect consistency for castle-building. Meandering up and down the beach to find shells for my sister to turn into jewelry.
But for me, the seaside, be it sandy or rocky, is really about the ocean.
The waves relentlessly rushing, curling, crashing, retreating.
The sight of endless water, here to the horizon.
The feel of cool water washing over my skin, tugging at my feet.
The constant movement, as if the ocean is alive.
The taste of salt when the water splashes my lips.
The sounds. The scents.
It’s so big. So powerful.
The ocean has majesty. It’s a force to be reckoned with.
Dad told me of a line he remembered from a book he read years ago, Endurance.
You can never win against the ocean. The best you can hope for is a draw.
The waves and water are relentless, untamable. Beautiful, yet a little frightening.
All week, I kept thinking of where the LORD points to the ocean He created as evidence of His power. God asks Job,
“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb; …
When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’
-Job 38: 8, 10-11 NKJV
Truly, with all our dikes and jetties and super-sophisticated technology, the best we can do is sort of hold our own against an undaunted foe that fights effortlessly.
We can never control the ocean.
But God can.
He set the limits. He said, “Your waves may come up to here, and not a step farther without My permission.”
Indeed, the ocean’s waves are proud. And not without reason.
It is good to remember that I serve the God who can bid the proud waves to halt. And even walk upon them if He pleases.