And when I see the majestic power and strength of waves crashing over me, knocking me down into tailspins where I cannot find my footing, I am reminded that those are the moments His grace and mercy carry me.
Over the past week, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend my mornings relaxing by the cool Atlantic Ocean breeze and my evenings rubbing my hands through the grainy sand as I gazed at sunsets. While the waves lapped wave after wave upon my legs, sea crystals speckled my hair. But it was not the beauty of the ocean that caught me, but how the waves gently erased the dunes as they came and went.
As a follower of Jesus, I think it can be easy to say we believe in the power of God and His wonders, but another thing to truly mean that. For example, when I hear someone talk about how awesome the beach is, I believe them, but I don't truly understand until I experience it for myself, hand-in-hand, feet in the sand, waves in my hair.
Wonders of the World
Many people in this world believe there are seven wonders:
The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. But when I look at everything around me, I realize they are wrong.
Scripture tells us in Genesis 1:1, "in the beginning God." This means that everything: every animal, mountain, ocean, light, darkness, person, and thing He breathed into purpose and existence was beautifully crafted by His unique design! Everything we can see and experience is a wonder given to us by God. Not just the things our culture has claimed as wonders of the world. It is no surprise, then, that the author of Psalm 33:8 writes, "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him."
But beyond the wonder and the initial fascination, infatuation, and amazement of physical beauties around us, are the lesser details we often fail to give attention to, like the number of grains of sand in my palm when I pick up a handful.
"For you have searched me, and know me, oh God! How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God, how vast is their sum! If I were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; and when I awake, I am still with You." Psalm 139:17-18 (BSB)
Things like the mercies given anew daily when He washes away my sins, infirmities, and markings in the sand.
"Our sins are washed away and we are made clean because Christ gave His own body as a gift to God. He did this once for all time. All Jewish religious leaders stand every day killing animals and giving gifts on the altar. They give the same gifts over and over again. These gifts cannot take away sins. But Christ gave Himself once for sins and that is good forever. After that, He sat down at the right side of God." Hebrews 10:10-12 (NLV)
Praise God, who not only takes away our sins but gives us new mercies daily in freedom and deliverance from them!
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; (Because of the steadfast love of the Lord, we are not cut off) his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
To Beautifully Overcome
As much as I love the beauty of the ocean, sunshine skies, and soaking in the rest and rejuvenation of a family vacation, I love the Gospel that is interwoven into every fabric of its experience that I taste in His goodness and faithfulness more.
The vacation, the beach, and time with my family are treasures to me. They are memories I will never forget, and experiences I will remember for a lifetime. Yet even more so are the promises of God written over each blessing I feel, taste, and see in those moments.
For when I watch the waves wash away the dirty sand from my feet, I think of Jesus cleansing my toes. His blood washing away my sins. The ocean carrying my sins as far as the east is from the west.
"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more." Psalm 103:12-16 (NIV)
And when I feel the sweat dripping down my back during a four-mile sunset run, I run with the purpose in life He's given.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)
And when I see the majestic power and strength of waves crashing over me, knocking me down into tailspins where I cannot find my footing, I am reminded that those are the moments His grace and mercy carry me. His grace and mercy find me. His truth and beauty saturate themselves into my weak and weary soul.
Over the wind and the waves.
Above the wind and the waves.
Through the wind and the waves.
Within the wind and waves.
Not to harm me, but so that through, and in them, and within Him, I will see, experience, taste, touch, and overcome all things.
"Jesus got into a boat. His followers followed Him. At once a bad storm came over the lake. The waves were covering the boat. Jesus was sleeping. His followers went to Him and called, “Help us, Lord, or we will die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then He stood up. He spoke sharp words to the wind and the waves. Then the wind stopped blowing. Then men were surprised and wondered about it. They said, “What kind of a man is He? Even the winds and the waves obey Him." Matthew 8:23-27 (NLF)
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Cole Patrick
Amber Ginter is a teacher, author, blogger, and mental health activist who resides in the beautiful mountains and cornfields of Ohio. She loves Jesus, granola, singing, reading, dancing, running, her husband Ben, and participating in all things active. She’s currently enrolled in the Author Conservatory Program and plans to pitch her book: Mental Health and the Modern Day Church for Young Adults, soon. Visit her website at amberginter.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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