Lessons from the beach

I recently wrote a post about why I love Texas.  I spent last week in Carmel, California and now I remember why I love my home state as well.  I grew up in California and it surprises me whenever I return, that as I get off the plane and see the palm trees, I feel like I’m back home.  Kind of.  The truth is, my home is Texas, I’m at home in California – but the greater truth is that I’m not really home either place.  I’ll try to explain what I mean by that.  Jim and I spent the last night in Carmel, sitting on the beach and watching the sun set on the Pacific Ocean.  The one “moment” I have never been able to match, any place other than California, is that sunset.  When I was a teenager we would spend a LOT of time at the beach.  Zuma Beach, lifeguard station one, was our spot.  No matter the day or the hour, we could find a crowd for a volleyball game or a group of friends to hang out with.  Most of the time, we would stay until sunset.  We would build a fire because even in July, a fire felt good in the late afternoon.  Someone usually had a guitar and we would sit around and listen to songs by Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and James Taylor.  (Our generation really did have the BEST music!!!) The last 15 minutes of a sunset on the Pacific is a perfect “moment.”  Even rowdy teenagers grow quiet and watch.  The sun sinks towards the water, creating colors in the sky and on the ocean that aren’t seen anywhere else.  The waves are lit from behind, the wind calms, the birds sail quietly above the water – and the whole world becomes aware that there is something at work in the universe that transcends personal circumstance.  A single life seems very small, even insignificant at that moment.  I loved seeing those sunsets again.  I loved being back “home.”  But, now I’ll tell you the spiritual lesson I learned at the beach, brought back to Texas, and will remember always.

For a Christian, home is an idea, a feeling and a concept – until we get to heaven.  Only then, is home a reality.  Why do I feel a sense of “home” in two completely different states?  Because I’m not fully home in either.  Sitting on that beach last week I realized I was watching the exact same sunset that I had seen 30+ years earlier.  I thought about Hebrews 13:8 that says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Almost EVERY aspect of my life is different than it was when I watched those sunsets in high school, surrounded by those friends.  But the God of the Universe, that manufactured the sunset – is exactly Who he has always been.  The circumstances of this life change all the time, but the one who transcends all circumstance, stays exactly the same.  The sunset reminded me of that truth – and I wanted to help you all remember that as well.  Whatever circumstances you find yourself in at this moment, there is a God who understands, and who is SO MUCH larger and above anything in this world.  The sunset made me realize that my life is small and insignificant compared to God’s greatness.  And my next thought was – Jesus died for me anyway.  God has always wanted me to be fully home – and one day, I will be.  I have a concept of home while I am here – but reality is on the other side of the sunset, when I am home with God. 

Clement of Alexandria, a Greek philosopher and an early Christian convert, wrote “The world is the first Bible that God made for the instruction of man.”  You and I don’t remember a day that we couldn’t open our copy of God’s word and learn.  Most of Christian history, people did not have a personal copy of the Holy Bible.  But people have believed in God since the beginning of time.  Every sunrise, sunset, season, and century validates Hebrews 13:8.  Jesus will be the same Savior for you as he was for your ancestors, and will be for your descendants.  He is the constant in the midst of every change and every challenge. 

I hope you have some time today to look at the first Bible God ever wrote.  Creation is a reminder that God transcends circumstance – and he gave us his Son, so that one day, we will too!

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