a thousand trips to the ocean

I have probably literally been to the ocean over 100 times in my life. Every summer growing up, my family would take a vacation to the beach. I went to college in a beach town, and as an adult I’ve visited a beach destination at least twice a year. Suffice it to say, I love the ocean. I love the sound of the waves crashing the shore. I love the picturesque blue of the water. I love the sun beaming overhead. I love the gentle coolness of the refreshing water. I love everything about God’s beauty manifested in the ocean. For as many times as I’ve been to the ocean, I’m always in awe when I look out into the horizon and watch the water meet the sky. It seems so limitless to me, but Psalm 13:7 says that “He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.” Wow! When I meditate just on that fact that he can draw borders for such massive bodies of water, how much more can He do for me? The Bible also says that He subdues the waves (Psalm 89:9) and He split the sea by His strength (Psalm 74:13). When I need to be reminded of the power and beauty of my maker, all I need is one glance into the expanse of those mighty blue waters.
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A few weeks ago, I was at the beach with a friend and her family. We spent 7 glorious days frolicking in the waves, laying in the sand, soaking in the sun and the ocean air. It was everything I needed and more. As this probably was my 101st trip to the beach, I never stopped to realize that this might be someone else’s first time at the ocean.

On the last day of our trip, they gave me the task of giving away the expensive floats we had bought for the week. Everyone else went back to the condo to shower and get ready for dinner, and I stayed back to enjoy my last evening on the beach and to make sure those floats got in the right hands. Earlier that day I had read Psalm 27, and I was particularly struck with the part that said to gaze on the beauty of the Lord. I thought wouldn’t it be amazing if I could behold God’s beauty every day, whether at the ocean or not. That day I had certainly beheld His beauty as I watched the clouds roll over the perfectly clear water. It was as if The Lord of the universe was calling my name. But that’s not what brought tears to my eyes that day.

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As I lay on the last float waiting to give it away, I noticed a girl and her mom pass by. The girl, no more than 8 years old, held her mom’s hand as they walked on the edge of the water. A few minutes later, they passed again. This time I stopped them and asked if they wanted our float. They were surprised at the gesture, but they took the float, and I told the little girl to enjoy. As I packed up my things to leave, I couldn’t help but watch this little girl and her new float. First she ran to her dad to show him the float, then she and her mom ventured into the water with the tube. She situated herself atop ready to ride her first wave. And as the wave came crashing, she flipped over. I felt a pang in my stomach, as I watched her run out of the water and back to her dad. Don’t quit, I thought to myself. She grabbed her towel and wiped her face and back into the water she went. And again she crashed with the wave into the water, and again she ran for her towel. Three times this series of events happened. I hoped she would not give up. I hoped she’d keep going. Again she jumped up on the tube, this wave bigger than the rest knocked her over into the water. I watched and waited for her reaction. She hopped up, wiped her eyes with her hands and was ready to tackle the next wave. Tears streamed in my eyes as I beheld the beauty of The Lord through the lens of this little girl’s first trip the ocean. And as the tide rolled them away, I watched her bounce on and off the float with glee, and I felt the joy of The Lord through her smile, her perseverance, her innocence, and her sweet spirit.

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I hope to take a thousand trips to the ocean, knowing each one will hold a priceless treasure of God’s love, beauty, grandeur, and magnificence.

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