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Spiritual Life

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The Surf, The Sand, and The Son

By Missey Butler
Guest Writer -- I love the ocean! Just ask my friends. Whenever those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer come calling, I'm usually one of the first to hang the "gone to the beach" sign on my back door, and off I go!

Consequently, I'm also one of the ones who routinely comes home with an award winning sunburn. I have such a good time while basking in the surf and sand that I forget to re-apply the suntan protection ointment and end up with quite a sear!

On one particularly hot summer day, I ventured down to the tourist-packed beach and unfolded my favorite striped beach towel. With sunglasses perched squarely on my lotion-covered nose, I began to engage in the relaxing pastime of watching the waves as they rolled to the shore.

As the foaming surf retreated, I watched as thousands of tiny glistening pebbles rolled end over end while the sun danced across their marbled surfaces. I managed to pick out a single stone and noticed how it had become perfectly round by the constant movement of the tide.

Could there be a spiritual correlation? I began to think about how often our own lives are molded and shaped by the pounding waves of adversity.

There is an old hymn that was written in 1873 by a man named Horatio Spafford. He had just received word that his beloved wife and five children had all drowned at sea as a result of a sinking vessel.

Though grief-stricken, he managed to pen the following words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll…
What ever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well, with my soul.

Whenever trials come our way, can we courageously respond in the same way? Is it well with your soul today? Are you drifting helplessly along? Do you feel like you are lost at sea?

My husband has a small brass plaque mounted in the cabin of our sailboat that says, "O God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small." God understands that we sometimes lose our way in the rough seas of life, causing us to feel overwhelmed and bewildered. But God never gives us more than we can handle. You can find that promise in I Corinthians 10:13:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will with the temptation, make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it.

God has thrown a life preserver to all of mankind. It comes to us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. Have you grabbed on to that ring of salvation yet? He is the sure anchor for our souls. In His own words Jesus reminds us,

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6

Sometimes when I gaze out across the stormy coast, and watch as flashes of lightning streak across the sky, and waves thrash about, I think about an old fisherman's tale I once heard. The story speaks about a lighthouse located around the shores of the Cape Islands. In years gone by it had been a faithful guide to many a lost sailor. The subject had come up at the local town hall meeting to tear the lighthouse down. After all, the big ships never passed that way anymore so what was the need in having it around?

In walks a crusty old seaman who begins to plead with the council to let the lighthouse stand. He tells them the story of how on one stormy night, when the wind and waves were tossing his vessel about, he soon lost all sense of direction. The dark jagged rocks were swiftly approaching, but just in time he saw the light! His eyes welled with tears as he gazed upon the circling beam that emanated from the lens of that old lighthouse. With strong emotion he looked at the smug board members and said, "You see, if it wasn't for the lighthouse, tell me, where would this ship be?"

You know, I believe all of us have our own story of how "just in time" we saw the light. Yes, I suppose that's why I love the ocean. To me, as I look upon all the elements that make up the sea and her surroundings, I can see God's wonderful gift of redemption symbolically reflected within the surf, the sand and especially "The Son."

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