Read Psalms 33 this morning. Verse 7 made an impact on me: “He gathers the waters of the sea into jars.”
It’s been a wild ride the last few months. That would describe my life and work travel but I don’t want to get too self absorbed. There WERE visits to 4 different mosques within a month, speaking engagements and conversations at 9 different churches and 2 seminaries; 6 beds in 3 states. But really, is it ever about me?
This last weekend, I was out of internet range for some time to reflect, write, hike and relax with Carol. Well, I had my cell phone and still was poking a few of my favorite friends, responding to a few emails, etc. But I was not wired like normal. Missed the extensive coverage of Osama’s death. I did get a brief note about his death from an email group I’m honored to be a part of including NT Wright, Miroslav Volf and a few other important people. Some Muslims are on the list as well and also comment. What an amazing cadre of people that are thinking and feeling as they pray, seeking to love God and neighbor with all their heart, including the “other group”…the religiously and ethnically other who are sometimes considered “the enemy!”
Back to my weekend away with Carol. We were blessed to stay in a beautiful place built less than a hundred yards from that large body of water to the left of the West coast. We could hear the pounding waves at night. The constant white noise of the surf was relaxing. Until it got dark. Then I worried about the Tsunami warning system, wondering if there was in fact such a thing, then if the batteries had been recently replaced on the alarms. I don’t know. Sounds stupid but the mind, or I should say MY mind, can work overtime in the dark. The images of what happened in Japan played over and over in my brain. The power of the ocean and flowing sea have been on my visual playback screen since March 11th.
On Saturday, Carol and I went down the coast a bit to Kiwanda Cape, where this picture was taken. I joined about 10 photographers looking for the perfect spot to snap away, catching waves, light and sunset at the end of the day. It was really magical. I was standing on a rock ledge that often reverberated with the impact of a wave that was hitting every few seconds. Sea spray got my lens wet a few times. It was all exhilarating and fun to try to capture with my camera.
This morning a swirl of thoughts came together as I reflected over Psalm 33, on the Pacific Ocean, Tsunamies, Osama and what we put our confidence in.
4 For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
he puts the deep into storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
That part is what I think about when standing before the ocean. The next section is what I think about when the news of Osama, Tsunamies and the U.S. milirtary come to mind.
16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
And finally, when all is said and done, whether batteries work in the alarm system or I worry about safety while traveling in distant lands or whatever else can easily ail me, the world and all its people, I pray an affirmation of faith:
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.