Beach thoughts

Gazing out, still forever mesmerized, by the powerful waves rolling passionately to the sandy beach, then recoiling at just the appointed line... my soul rests.
The Gulf Coast, Panama City Beach, our favorite place.  Frank brought me here first in 1983.  I'd seen the ocean, but joining his family in their lifelong tradition was new.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, siblings, friends, new husbands and wives, and one fiance' (me!).
They rented beach houses side by side.  Houses with gritty tile floors included a bedroom designated for each family.  Cooking responsibilities were shared, so that the most valuable moments were spent on the beach.
"Coffee Club" created a morning option for those early risers.  Some mornings, family concerns were discussed, world problems were solved, and business decisions were made.  Other mornings, conversation was minimal; simply the overwhelming sights and sounds the ocean offered:  dolphins playfully jumping, a swooping pelican diving deep for a morning snack, and the water - crystal clear and peaceful.
I didn't like the feel - the grittiness of sand then.  My knight in shining "swimsuit" (Frank) carried my chair, my book, my water bottle and my sunscreen down to just the right spot by the water.  He'd come back to guide my steps to my beach towel-laden chair.  And then, knowing my sand aversion, he met the water with a bucket, filling it with sand-free water, pouring it on my sandy feet.  Wow, he's a keeper.
Thirty-seven years later, I sit with my toes buried in the warm familiar sand.  Memory moments of sun-kissed, okay, sun-burned faces of our children begging for just more wave ride on those styrofoam boards.  It didn't matter their flaming red bellies came from the scraping of the board not the sun.  Family, friends, precious moments.
So many times, at this water's edge, I've shared heartache and hopes, fear and failures, uncertainty and understanding with the Lord.
On this day in June, I watched intently, two boats opposite each other - like the starter had shouted go, they began their race toward each other.
One looked to be a small fishing boat headed out to a 4-hour excursion.  The other, much bigger, resembled an important task-defined vessel - maybe Navy or Coastguard on a clear mission.  From my chair, the pull of magnetism seemed to be forcing one straight toward the other.

They are headed for collision - I stood - more out of angst - knowing I was less than helpless.  The horizon view seemed clear - this was an impending catastrophe.  I, and a few others seated on the beach, observed in horror.
As the gap closed, I braced, whispering, 
"Lord, protect them." 

Seamlessly they passed each other.  Now I could gain proper perspective. They were many yards apart.  They had no fear or thought of my fear.  My vantage point was simply that:  mine.  My perspective was wrong.

Oh Father, 
Once more, at the water's edge, You teach me.  

I begin to reflect on recent events, recent joys, recent struggles... and then to not so recent challenges.  Some reminders flooded my mind and heart of what I so didn't understand in those moments, but I so clearly see and understand now - God's purpose in them.  Others, still I see dimly.

I've been studying the book of Habakkuk lately.  It's in the Old Testament near the end - only 3 chapters.  The prophet, Habakkuk, begins his  "complaint" to God with these words, "How long, Oh God, will I cry out to You for help, and You do not listen."

Now, can I just say, as I read those words, I couldn't help but wonder, is the lightning going to come straight down on this prophet's head??

No, God allowed his questions, his complaints, and then God answered.

At the end of chapter 3, Habakkuk still doesn't fully understand the ways of God, but he so completely trusts his powerful God.  And so do I.  God's perspective is perfect, planned and purposeful... for my life, for yours, for His creation.

I ended my perspective beach moments, praising God with the words of Habakkuk:

Join me on this new day with these words of intention:

Thought the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines.
Thought the olive crop fails,
and the fields produce no food.
thought there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength,
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.

The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian. But the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be. – Elisabeth Elliot.