I’ve been such a bad…blogger, lately. I must admit, it takes a while to play catch-up after your life changes drastically in a short amount of time. Thankfully for me, Change is a good friend of mine whom I welcome with a dramatic, running-across-a-sunflower-field, hug. Change is fun, I like her. Anyways, as the craziness that is my life becomes the norm, I can confidently say that I am faithfully committing to you, cyberworld, once again. And with that, I have a lot to catch you up on. So, I will just start with my most recent adventure—Miami (I do love how my hometown visits have now become adventures). I recently made a trip down to the 305 to celebrate Thanksgiving and oh, friend, it was sweet.
Prior to my arrival in the Magic City, I had anticipated catching a sunrise on the beach (one of my favorite pastimes). I hadn’t admired a sunrise since my birthday in May, so I was pretty excited—except for the dreaded 5am wake-up call and early morning drive. But, the anticipation of sitting on a blanket on the sand with the sun breaking through the darkness, as an acoustic worship tune blares through the speakers and my friends and I sit serenely (singing kumbaya, of course)…had me committed to waking up as soon as my alarm rang. By 5:30am I was headed out the door, ready for my ideal hippie morning to come into fruition so I could start my day off well. After picking up a couple friends, we were headed down the expressway with the moon still shining. The sun was scheduled to rise at 6:30am, and it was my job to make it there on time.
As I parked my car and we gathered our belongings, we couldn’t help but feel unwelcomed by the clouds that were clearly hiding the sun’s arrival from us—along with the intense wind gusts that didn’t seem to want us there, either.
As soon as we reached the sand and looked out onto the water, I realized my dream of kumbaya and sunrays’ reflecting on the ocean was just that—a dream. There were no sunrises to be had—Nature just wasn’t having it. As I looked out onto the storm rolling through, complete with its gloom and clouds, I felt a wave of disappointment set in.
The wind pushed against my body in anger and the grains of sand smacked against my skin in rebellion. We walked in circles for about ten minutes trying to decide where to go—heading back home was an option, but not after a 5am morning call—we had made it this far, after all.
A few blocks down the beach we spotted an empty lifeguard house. Since the wind and waves were fierce, we decided to take shelter on the second floor where we were far enough to remain safe from Nature’s fury. The situation wasn’t ideal, and we made sure to express that, “well, this was a fail…” we admitted. We decided to surrender to the storm, taking a seat at the edge of the wooden planks of the lifeguard house, letting our legs dangle off the edge while using our towels as windbreakers.
After a couple of minutes of settling in, we decided to open the Bible. We fought that wind again for a couple minutes, as it tried to turn the pages for us quite violently. We opened to a fitting passage, namely, the story of Jesus calming the storm, using way more hands than needed to hold down the pages.
“And when he [Jesus] got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but Jesus was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” and he said to them, “Why are you afraid. O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
The words were read loudly and slowly, and as the final question of the passage was asked, the Bible was shut closed and our attention was focused on the chaos in front of us.
“What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
In that moment, the sober reality of that powerful question rested heavily on our hearts.
The wind and the waves suddenly took on a different light. Sort of how your perspective of a magnificent yet deadly lion would change upon admiring it in its natural environment. A lion in a cage is, well, a lion inside of a cage. But a lion in the wild is another story—it is unpredictable yet glorious; dangerous yet majestic. A lion in its natural habitat cultivates appreciation and marvel. In the same way, when looking out, I saw the wind and the waves for what they were—a chef d'oeuvre in the hand of the Artist; a brilliant masterpiece devised by the Composer. Nature herself, a creature—a created piece of art, subject to the authority of her Creator.
I realized that the weather wasn’t unfortunate—nor did I choose the wrong morning to wake up early and watch the sunrise. In all actuality, it wasn’t “bad” weather at all. It was perfect. It was in that moment that I got to witness a different aspect of Nature’s personality—her frustrations, her zeal. It was beauty taking on a different form. I saw her in her fullness—declaring her Creator’s might—His majesty, His power.
Perspective—oh, what a difference it makes.
Besides the four of us on the lifeguard house, only a handful of others were also on the beach experiencing Nature’s fury—a few surfers and some photographers stood by the water as the waves crashed white against the shore. As I watched them, I admired their appreciation for Creation. They understood her, they respected her. They, too, were marveling at her zeal and her power, taking advantage of the aspect of her personality that many people don’t choose to enjoy by staying indoors.
Dear saint, be the surfer in the storm, taking advantage of each angry wave as it breaks, turning a storm into a playing field. Be the photographer, capturing the chaos and using it as a canvas to create art. What the world would see as unfortunate, choose to see as an opportunity for something glorious—catching the lemons that Jesus throws at you, and well, making sweet, sweet, lemonade, of course.