“Who shut up the seas behind doors
When it burst forth from the womb
When I made the clouds its garment
And wrapped it in thick darkness.
When I set limits for it
And set its doors and bars in place.
When I said, ‘This far you may come and no further
This is where your proud waves halt.”
I’ve studied this passage a lot over the past year. But every time I’ve read it, I’ve been in Colorado. Today was the first day that I read this while sitting along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly, this passage is so much more powerful.
Have you ever played in the waves? As a kid, I visited the Atlantic every summer, and my dad and I always played the same game, “break the waves.” We would growl like strong men, accelerate toward the waves, and act like we had busted them up. It was fun, and it made me feel like a man, but we never really succeeded. The waves kept coming. They passed me and my dad, and continued their momentum toward the shore. The only thing that ever stopped the waves was the beach–the limits that God set in place.
Recently, my family got hit by a wave. Unlike the game I played as a kid, however, we didn’t see this wave coming. It pushed us under the water, tossed us along the bottom, and dumped us out on a new shore. We crawled up onto the beach in our soaked and sandy blue jeans, and now we are sitting here trying to figure out where we are and where to go from here. The weather is cooler than expected, and I don’t have a warm, dry towel to put over the shoulders of my wife. So she cuddles up to me, closer than she’s ever cuddled up before. It’s uncomfortable to sit in wet and sandy jeans, but once they’re wet there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. So instead of complaining, we simply sit. Our kids are doing what they do best, taking advantage of any opportunity to splash in the water, they giggle, splash, and look up to see if we’re watching them. They think we’re on vacation.
The waves keep on coming. The wind keeps blowing. And the salty air continues to smell salty. In so many ways, nothing has changed. And I’m reminded that all I consider beautiful and important is cuddled up in my arms and splashing in the waves.