Safe Harbor

 I saw a photograph of the island taken from a plane.  How tiny it looks!  The beach is a white ribbon, the trees a narrow band of green dotted with homes, and the bay beach another narrow band of white.  All of it surrounded by water—waves rolling in with tiny flumes of foam visible in the picture.  I felt small and inconsequential, threatened by the vastness of the sea and those waves that bite at the land.  Then I realized all life is lived as an island in a sea; there is so much in our lives we can’t control, and so we try to keep our island safe and secure.  I think of all the hymns that speak of God as a refuge in storms, a haven when the waves of tragedy or despair or death roll over us.  Thank you, Lord, for being my security; no matter how the waves may wash over the island, you reach out your hand to me from the heights of Heaven.  I need have no fear for you are my safe harbor. Amen.

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Heading Into the WavesHeading Into the Waves

I love to watch children on the beach.  They approach the water with such energy and enthusiasm, rushing to splash into the foam, then stopping suddenly as they feel the power and surge of the waves striking their bodies.  Yesterday one child ran into the water, grew frightened, ran back safely to shore, ran back to the water, ran to shore, and kept up this scenario for a good ten minutes.  I know exactly how that child felt.  Perhaps it’s human nature, this approach/retreat pattern, even in our relationship with God.  I want to be close to God, want to turn my entire life over to him, want to trust fully in his promises, want to surrender—yet when I get in his presence, the power frightens me and I run back to the world for the security of the known and familiar.  The awesome presence of God overwhelms me.  I’m afraid, afraid to surrender.  Forgive me, Lord, when I run from you in fear.  Help me remember how often your messengers repeated, “Fear not….”  May I come to you trusting completely and in full faith, stepping into your presence like a child stepping confidently into the ocean. Amen.

**Painting above is titled “The Crush of Waves” by Corinne Hartley

A PropA Prop

A friend showed me a palm tree that began growing vertically, but with age it bent closer and closer to the ground until eventually it was virtually horizontal and falling down.  She had propped it up with a wooden trestle, allowing the palm tree to continue its life even if parallel to the ground.  Her thoughtfulness and ingenuity make me question myself—how do I react to older people?  Do I feel uncomfortable and awkward with them, uncertain what to say or how to react?  Am I uneasy with clothing that may be stained or with odors that may be unpleasant?  Forgive me Lord for failing to reach out to the needs of those who are older than I.  May I, like that wooden trestle, act as a prop and stay, may I help to bring your good news to all whom I meet, at any end of the age continuum.  Forgive me my fear of my own advancing age; remind me that you have defeated time and death—I need never fear. Amen.

 

Fog’s VeilFog’s Veil

Fog swirls about the island, erasing everything that’s known and familiar.  I can’t recognize shapes or colors, and my surroundings seem foreign to me.  My life is sometimes like that.  When problems arise, I feel as if I am alone, shrouded from help or care, unable to recognize the shapes that surround me.  In the fog, nothing seems hopeful; everything appears threatening.  Please, God, reach out to me whether I’m in the whiteness of fog or the blackness of despair.  Help me to feel your presence always, and let me know that you abide with me even when I can’t see your face.  Assure me that your love and presence are eternally mine; when the fog lifts, let me recognize that you were always there beside me. Amen.