“If his grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.”
This is a line from a David Crowder song that I did not fully comprehend until I was in fact sailing for days in the middle of the ocean with nothing but blue in every direction as far as the eye could see. I grew up my whole life on the coast of Maine and have been very familiar with looking into that distant horizon sometimes not knowing when the sky ends and the water begins. I have had debates with friends from landlocked states that insist their lake beaches are as good as the ocean but I have always believed there is something about standing on the edge of a continent looking out to the unknown and knowing that the closest bit of land is across the vast ocean.
I have only just begun to appreciate how vast these oceans are. Standing up on the bow – that’s the front of the ship –
tempted to say “I’m flying Jack I’m flying,” I look over at the glorious shades of blue and turquoise and see how the sun glimmers off each wave as it slowly rises and falls. There are depths below us (maybe not directly) that hide sea creatures that have never been discovered. There are trenches and valleys and land formations that have never been seen. In these fathoms below (cue The Little Mermaid intro) I gain a small perspective of the amount of grace the Father has for me…
The other day I entered into a fight I knew I would never win. I was upset and angry and my emotions got the best of me. Normally I steer away from a losing argument. I don’t like to be wrong – who does? In the end though, when I am arguing with the Creator of the universe and the One who holds my future in his hands I’m just not going to win.
I have been sick of growing and sick of trusting and decided to tell the Lord but like I said it was a losing argument the whole way. It has been a rough couple of weeks for all of us. Most of the crew are reassigned to positions that they would never have imagined working, myself included. The hours are hard, the work is hard and to top it off we aren’t even allowed to tie a rope to the stern – that’s the back of the ship –
and go tubing in the wake on our days off. Plus, I have had a difficult time assimilating my closely knit family of forty into a crew of two hundred keeping in mind that it will double by the time we are in Madagascar (PS- that is where we are headed – more on that to follow).
After venting out my frustrations and being grateful I serve a God who will not smite me for approaching in such a state but will show me grace, mercy and love until He gets me through it I realized once again that this is where the Lord has called me. No, it doesn’t look like I imagined. No, I’m not headed where I thought I would be going. No, I’m not even working where I thought I would be working. But none the less this is where I am and I know “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you” Deuteronomy 31:8a. Does that mean I magically accept it and am grateful and happy all the time? No, it is a process.
The thing about the ocean and grace alike is that it will slowly work away at the hard edges and smooth you into a masterpiece. There is a beach in Acadia National Park in Maine that is composed of the smoothest rocks and boulders you could ever imagine whose edges have been worn down over time. It is a hard and sometimes painful process but when the sheer force of the ocean continually bombards the earth no matter how hard the rock or surface is the ocean is going to win.
In a way that is how I feel when I am bombarded by the grace of God in all its abundant strength and vastness. No matter how many times I fail, His grace is there washing over me with power and strength to rub away the edges and make me who I am meant to be. And the vastness – well this grace is not just for me. There is grace for the whole of mankind enough for us all to be sinking and that is a beautiful reality.
“How He Loves”
(originally by John Mark McMillan)
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all
And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…
He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.