He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.
Here in Daytona Beach, modesty is not one of our spiritual gifts. Spring Break 2010 is over, but the world’s most famous beach still plays host to a sea of partially dressed humanity. The sand is hard packed here; cars weave freely in and out of sunbathers smearing sunscreen on each other’s shoulders. Waves colliding with sand is a part of our rhythm of life in Florida.
Friday I joined forces with my friend and colleague, Michael McCrory, for a little beach walk. A thirty-mile toddle, from Ponce Inlet, north, to Flagler Beach … thirty miles? What the HECK were we think’n …
Post trip observations:
Retirees own the beach around sunrise. I guess all the young pups are getting ready for work, nursing hangovers, or both.
If you want to collect seashells, get to the beach early. Small armies of seashell hunters storm the beach like viking invaders and grab the best formed shells within the first few hours of sunlight. McCrory found a nice sand dollar, but it fractured, like the bones in our feet, by the end of our death march.
Arm tattoos, the kind that look like shirtsleeves, are getting popular with twenty-something women. I noticed the trend in San Francisco last month, but I thought it might be a West Coast thing … guess not. I wonder what those tattoos are going to look like when those young ladies get that flabby-arm-thing some grandmothers get.
Families are a huge contingent on the beach. What stood out most Friday is how much joy parents get from watching their children play. Kids never stop smiling as they jump over waves with their arms straight up in the air or roll themselves up in blankets of sand.
The beach has a spellbinding effect on children. Laughing children have a spellbinding effect on parents.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. -- Romans 8:16
Near the end of our walk, somewhere near mile twenty-five, the beach cleared, and I had a moment to stop and face the windy Atlantic alone. Long shadows from sea oats and saw palmetto mingled with my own shadow.
God, who am I that you should love me? I have done so much wrong. I have hurt others. I have shamed myself and my family. How can you possibly love me?
His answer was clear as waves crashed nearby: Rusty, I love you. I have always loved you. Like those children dancing in the sea today, you belong to me, you are precious to me.
And, it is true. God loves you that much, too.
... Father, thank you for the sea. Thank you for the beach. And, thank you for our children. Father, be with us and those we love. In Jesus name we pray ...