Kaye pokes fun of me for the number of sunset pictures and beach picture I take on vacation. And if it is a sunset on a beach, then watch out! The sound of the waves, the feeling of sand beneath your feet, the smell of fresh salty air, the way to sun reflects off the water, the beauty of the changing view as the clouds shift and the sun rises and sets. Absolutely amazing.
Lots of people flock to the beach or to the lake this summer. We may not be able to describe why we are pulled there, but there is a pull for many. In the opening of the classic Moby Dick, Herman Melville wrote: “Almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings toward the ocean with me.” And as you likely know, Moby Dick loved the ocean and loved to sail it. In the book, Blue Mind, Wallace Nichols offers research on how being near water can make you healthier and happier.
All of humanity can stand in awe of the beauty of the ocean, but Christians should more so. As Christians, we are not only in awe of the beauty we see but we know the beauty points to One even more beautiful and more amazing. I have not studied the science behind why we love looking at water, but here are five reasons you should stare at the ocean whenever you can.
We are reminded we are small.
The vastness and magnitude of the ocean reminds me how small I am. When you see water as far as your eyes can see, you are rightly humbled in light of how much bigger the world is than you are. A reminder that we should be humble is always a great reminder because we make so many foolish choices and distance ourselves from God and others when we walk in pride.
Yet we are also valued and loved.
We are small, but we are not insignificant. The God who created the ocean created us too and He created us to know Him. He views us as the pinnacle work of His creation, giving us stewardship over the rest of it.
We remember that life keeps going.
On many trips to the beach with Kaye, I have been overwhelmed with life, with decisions I needed to make, and with personal struggles. Staring at the relentless and rhythmic procession of waves reminds me that life keeps going. Others have stared at this same ocean with similar problems. God is over it all, and His plan will not be thwarted.
We know His grace is big.
The ocean is big and seems endless. Waves keep coming ashore but the ocean never empties. As rich as the ocean is in water, the riches of God’s grace are incalculable (Ephesians 3:8-9). Wondering if there is enough of God’s grace for our sin is like a child wondering if there is enough water in the ocean to fill his Sippy cup.
We can be still and know He is God.
Sitting in front of the ocean can help us be still. God commands us to “stop our fighting and know He is God” – to be still before Him. (Psalm 46:10). Our stillness does not impact whether He is God or not. He is God. But our stillness impacts our realization that He is God.
Yes, I am the hashtag blessed (the most annoying hashtag there is) for living in Miami and now Orange County because how much easier it is for us get to the beach. But even when we lived in Cincinnati and Nashville, we made the trek. When you can look at the ocean, do it. And enjoy God.