Why I now love the sea
As a child I always preferred a swimming pool to the beach. Swimming pools were generally warmer and there wasn’t salt or sand to get into your eyes or waves to knock you over. And when you got out you weren’t covered in sand. Swimming pools met my desire to control my environment and predictability.
When I was in Bali for my brother’s wedding in July the hotel we were staying in had at least four gorgeous swimming pools. And it was on the beach. The sea was calm and inviting. It was warm enough for me to venture into the water (people who know me well know it has to be hot outside - as in too hot to not be in water - before I will get into a pool or the sea!). A couple of mornings I swam out to the floating buoys and back. The sea was so unexpectedly warm and yet refreshing at the same time.
On the final morning I had a chance for a last swim. I automatically thought about going to the pool, but it felt more natural to swim in the sea - in a God-made space rather than a man-made one. And I was not disappointed - I met God in a new way drifting there. As I let go and allowed the waves to move me around and the warmth of the water to embrace me, I felt a touch of heaven and God’s peace. I felt the wonder that God had created this place for His children, for me, to enjoy and meet with Him in. I thought of heaven and how wonderful uninterrupted communion with Him is going to be. How amazing the paradise that awaits us will be.
And I would have missed all that if I had chose the controlled, predictable man-made swimming pool option.
I wonder how often do I settle for man-made religion and religious experience rather than meet God where He is already at? How often do I try and create an environment for God to meet me in rather than meet Him in the environment He has already created for His children - the sanctuary of creation? Of course God loves to meet with us wherever, and His Presence is everywhere, and as the Old Testament temples shows, He graciously works within the boundaries man lays out for him, but there is a whole world beyond our structures if we will respond to His invitation to step outside! When God created the world, He had already prepared a place - a whole wide beautiful world and within it a garden - for us to meet with Him in. Of course it is not perfect, but as we go outside we will catch glimpses of the way God originally designed the world and we glimpse the new world He will create where we will dwell with Him forever.