The family and I were at the beach at Waldport, Oregon, this weekend. With the blue sky, relatively calm ocean waves and very little wind, we wondered if this really was the latter part of February or May. This is not winter in the Northwest to be sure.
Before we left for home on Sunday, we walked on the beach one last time. The kids ran and played and we drank in the sounds and smells of the beach before we had to head home. I had the kids close their eyes to listen to the waves. I told them to take a deep breath and smell the saltiness of the air. I asked them to remember these moments. When they are in their beds at night waiting for sleep to come, they could remember these times on the beach and retreat back to them.
The Oregon coast is one of our favorite places. We get the spectrum of emotion when visiting. We see the ocean at its angriest in early winter. In the summer, the ocean sometimes pitches a fit but it mostly behaves like a toddler frolicking, kicking around and having a good time. The ocean this weekend was a little flirtacious, teasing us but really meaning no harm.
But in a brief display of might, the teasing ocean yesterday wasn't anything one would want to mess with. It was with that background that I read a little from Mark 6: 48-51:
48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw him and were terrified. "Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' 51Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down."
While reading, I asked Murron, our seven-year-old to imagine being on a boat in the waves, being afraid, and then seeing a ghost, and being more afraid, but then realizing it was Jesus, who said to not be afraid. Watching the waves, it wasn't hard imagining what I would do in that situation.
But when God says not to be afraid, He means it. If He made the winds and the seas, then there really shouldn't be anything to fear. It's a constant lesson. But to actually obey the Lord and not fear when things appear to be out of control would be a great thing. Until then, or at least while trying, I'm still begging the Lord to get in the boat with me. I don't want to be out in the storm alone.