“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
It’s 7p.m. I’m driving down US1 with only an hour to spare.
“I need to encounter Jesus”—I think to myself, as I press my foot down on the gas pedal. I was almost desperate. I had been a rough couple of days prior, and I was in need of stillness and restoration.
Stillness and restoration can be experienced anywhere; but for me, the most gripping moments are amidst creation. My moments with Jesus carry more weight when I’m beholding His beauty.
John Calvin once said: “There is not an atom of the universe in which you cannot see some brilliant sparks at least of His glory”
My spirit yearns for these brilliant sparks of His glory. And for some reason, the craving was stronger than ever on this busy Monday evening. As I scanned my surroundings and pondered where to go, “Deering Estate” kept creeping into my thoughts. “I’ve never been there. I don’t even know where I would go exactly, and I only have an hour” I argued with myself as I looked at the time.
“Go to Deering Estate”
I couldn’t shake it. I make a U-turn and begin my drive towards Deering Estate. Nevertheless, confirming my original thought, I don’t know where to go. I make a couple wrong turns. Stress creeps in as the clock ticks and my free time continues dwindling down. I finally park my car in an almost-empty parking lot, and begin looking around for a sense of direction. A few minutes pass before I see two bikers disappear onto a trail. Perfect. I get out of my car and begin to follow them…unsure of where they’re leading.
Suddenly, I see it—in the distance. Nothing but sky and ocean. I can hear it. I can smell it. And I can feel the breeze blow against my skin.
“Thank you” I whisper.
I walk towards an empty wooden dock, and plant myself down centimeters from the water. I open my Bible to Psalms and start playing my “Hymns for Hipsters” playlist on Spotify. The sun is setting, the wind is blowing, waves are crashing against the dock, birds are making their way across the open air, music is playing in the background, and I’m captivated by the Creator’s glory. “Thank you” I keep repeating. It’s perfect.
Suddenly, my moment of stillness is interrupted by the sound of footsteps making their way down the dock. My “perfect” moment didn’t last long enough…or so I thought. I turn around to notice a woman with a camera. She snaps a couple pictures of the sunset. I turn back around and continue trying to have my “moment.”
After about 10 minutes, I notice this woman still lingering. Normally, I would’ve started a conversation the moment I realized a human was next to me (or any being—I talk entirely too much, to anything that’s willing to listen). But this time I didn’t—I was jealous for my alone time with God. Normally, I would’ve lowered my music. But this time I didn’t—I was selfish about this moment.
As the lyrics “take the world, but give me Jesus” blare through my speakers, I think to myself “she’s been standing there for a bit, I wonder what she thinks of this song” As I turn toward her direction one more time, I unexpectedly hear her ask “Can I capture a candid of you? The scenery just looks so beautiful”, “Of course” I tell her, as I turn around and “look natural.”
“Are you a photographer?” I ask.
“Somewhat. I just love capturing God’s beauty.”
Ah, God’s beauty.
“Are you a Christian?”
“Yes ma’am, I am,” she answers.
“How long have you been walking with the Lord?”
“Since I was 8, and I’m going to be 43.”
“That’s beautiful” I say—a smile taking over my face. Nothing excites me more than hearing stories of perseverance in the faith. I love to hear about God’s faithfulness in other people’s lives, through the lens of their perspective, as they walk with Him for decades.
“We’ve been through a lot together,” she continues.
"Ugh, I can only imagine" I say. I wanted to hear more. I wanted to hear the miracles she’s experienced. No one walks with Jesus that long and doesn’t experience something miraculous.
Sure enough, my newfound sister proceeds to tell me about health issues she’s encountered the past year. She shares her moments of weakness. And in the same breath, she shares His goodness, His love, His mercy, and most of all, His healing and restoration. I could sense the peace of God flow out of her lips as she confesses His faithfulness in her doubt.
I turn to look at the sunset and can’t help but laugh at the utter beauty of this moment. I never would’ve imagined as I drove down US1 an hour prior, desperately seeking to encounter restoration with God, that He would meet me on that dock the way that He did. Not only did He restore me through His Word and His creation, but through one of His beloved daughters. In that moment, He sent her to remind me that He is a healer, that He remains faithful in our fear, and that He remains true in our doubt.
I thanked my new friend. I thanked her for her faith. I thanked her for sharing her testimony with me.
“You’re welcome” she replied “isn’t that how we overcome? We conquer by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.”
YES. By the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. (Revelations 12:11)
I got my brilliant spark of his glory that evening. But, like in all things that God does, I received it much more abundantly than I could’ve ever imagined. God, without me knowing (or me needing to know), had a divine appointment planned. He had scheduled to meet me and restore me—exactly where and how I needed Him to.
Seek Him. dear friends. I can guarantee that you will find Him...when you seek Him with all your heart.