Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Swelling Waves, Responsive Faith
Looking into the horizon, listening to the waves break on the beach, and lingering as the wind tousled my hair, compelled me to consider The Creator who's breath I felt in the wind and whose heart I felt beating in the waves. It was a beautiful day and a brilliant idea to visit the lake. The temperature was comfortable, the wind favourable to sailing, and the people scarce, but present. To have so much space unoccupied around me revealed the extent of its reach. As the seascape disappeared into the horizon before me, there was a sense of no boundaries; an endlessness to its expanse. Such vastness was humbling as it emphasized my finiteness. What lay beyond what I could see, I knew existed, but only by faith in what the maps claim. And likewise, the whispers of divinity seemed elusive and just beyond my mental grasp. Not so much because there was not enough evidence of Divine presence, but rather because there was too much; too much that spoke to the character of my God. He felt so near, so tangible, and yet so uncontainable and indescribable. This is the paradox of Infinite Greatness seeking involvement with Its creation, which summons from it a response that begs release and reciprocation.
At the lake to relax, I happily observed the peaceful surroundings that extended into the distance with little disruption, releasing my mind from the grip of the petty urgencies of life. I drank in the refreshing perspective that only an awareness of things and Someone so much bigger, better, and more capable than myself could infuse. However, amidst the pleasure, a longing and discontent seemingly counterproductive to the purpose of my visit seeped into my consciousness. After hours of leisure shared with someone significant, the restlessness was unanticipated and incongruous with the setting. Yet, my visit to the beach was incomprehensive considering the opportunities the spaciousness represented. While I sat amid the grass on a bluff, a seagull bobbed on the waves. Where I only waded in the water, a lady many years my senior braved the chilly water and went for a swim, twice. As I navigated over the stones fringing a pier, sailboats gracefully carried their occupants across the horizon. And, as I walked along the sand, a family busily constructed a sandcastle. Put into perspective, my involvement with the presented wonder was meager and my restlessness, obvious. For any exposure to God’s majesty is as unsatisfying as it is satisfying. There is no culmination to discovering Him and each encounter with His character amplifies the yearning to experience Him. Since the moment that Eternal Life breathed humanity into existence, a tension between peace and unrest wrestles within each soul. The ache, which existence incites and sin isolates from its reprieve, is a result of the fleeting life inherited. This temporary existence is a testament to the eternal life God offers, compelling a search for life that will outlive the fragile breaths of time. Created to discover, to experience, and to love my Maker, I am empty until I involve myself in the quest. The infinite opportunity God presents through His Son in His persistent redemption, calls me to surrender myself into the waves of His heart that wash into my life like the waves that roll to shore.
Yet, my habitually finite responses lead me elsewhere for completion or into Him only to the extent that my comfort allows. This insufficient response to the steady call of God’s heart to revel in the purpose He’s poured Himself out to make accessible for me, intensifies the hunger to experience the greater reality to which the remnants of glory around me allude. Consequently, I grapple with the desperate longing brought on by my day at the lake. My discontent induces me to consider what status or response of mine is its current source. Am I a rock on the pier, hardened against the hunger within me, rebuffing the waves washing over me? Am I an indifferent wanderer absent because of the inconvenience of making a visit to the beach? Am I my feet, daring only to test the water temperature, venturing no further than my personal comfort is prepared to tolerate? Am I a sandcastle builder, self absorbed and content to play on the shore listening to the steady beat of the waves and simply satisfied with their spray? Am I strolling the beach willing to observe, to contemplate, or even to appreciate the wonder surrounding me, but unwilling to respond to its invitation with personal involvement and the sure sacrifices it will require? Am I the shifting sand, easily moved by the effect of the movement of the waves, but always settling back into uncommitted mediocrity that the shoreline allows? Am I a seagull merrily trusting the swells and ignorantly using them merely for the pleasure that the thrill of contact with their power brings? Am I the elderly swimmer, courageously choosing a chilly swim realizing its benefits will outweigh the struggle and risks the waves present, knowing it will strengthen me, but never able to swim beyond the distance that my strength endures? I cycle through the possibilities seeing my inconsistent faith making me a participant of each scene.
The longing within me threatens to dive into despair. My heart cries to know and worship the Infinite Character stretching beyond my reach. As the sun glints off the mast of a sailboat far out on the horizon, my faith quickens the hope of redemption within me and I remember to whom my destiny has been entrusted. He owns a sailboat on which I ride. He carries me to each encounter with truth, planned for my soul’s filling. Whether I take a swim while anchored at sea, or whether I fish from its brow or dive from its deck for a deep sea snorkeling discovery, or whether I seek its security in the certain storms, or whether I pause to see the overall perspective while docked on shore, the sailboat is the answer to my hunger for more. He is one with the elements, perfectly responding to the will of the waves, the direction of the wind, and the force of my sin – my absence of faith. He’ll continue to take me beyond what I see now and what I’ll see then. Despite my response to my finite vision, whether fear and ignorant assumptions or confident knowledge of truth as contrasted by Columbus and his contemporaries, my future is known to Him. Confident in this, my aching and longing are exchanged with anticipation and hope. My heart soars in the joy of God’s heart’s overflow: eternal life within me shedding my sin until the day The Captain sends His Summons for my voyage to heaven’s shore! There, saturated in the presence of my Maker and my Saviour, my soul will find its substance, and responding in knowledgeable worship, it will be satisfied in fulfilling its purpose. What a wonder. It will never end. Sigh.