Sandbars

We love to kick at the shallow waves while walking among smooth sands on a lovely beach. Sometimes, though, God calls us go deep into the water.

I can’t let go of our recent walk on a beach on Sanibel Island, Florida, with my brother-in-law, Barry, and his wife Karen. They are dear, dear relatives and sojourners as we follow Christ. Karen is adventurous. While the other adult-minded, mature, and sensible adults walked on the beach and looked for shells (smile), Karen walked into the Gulf of Mexico to tempt sharks and boats as she ventured into deeper water and walked to a sandbar offshore. I invite you to join Karen and to step into deeper waters.

Psalm 115:3 brashly proclaims “But our God is in the heavens; he does whatever He pleases.” There are comfortable, stroll-on-the-perfect-beach words here—and there is a let’s-walk-into-the-deep-ocean opportunity, too. One writer ventured this prayer about this verse, “that we may be prevented from forming unworthy conceptions of the glory of God.”

First, the psalm reminds us of the Lord’s Prayer, where we pray as Jesus instructed us, “Our Father, who art in heaven.” How stunning it is that beyond the multitude of universes science has wonderfully unveiled to us (yes, universes), God rules everything and everyone. This is of tremendous comfort. While the world appears to be spinning out of control God is in charge. He has written the last chapter (s) of this world and our lives, and while “The mind of man plans his way,” it is joyfully true, “the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Keeping in step with the Spirit of God is our daily pursuit and joy (Galatians 5). How is that going for you?

Second, there is the challenging second half to verse three, “He does whatever He pleases.” We’re in deep water now. And while there are unanswerable, sometimes troubling questions that ooze from this verse, consider with me one of many things God has been pleased to do.
God is pleased to love us. And, He loves us in the most sacrificial, costly way—He gave His only Son to die for our sins. We should recite the gospel in one of its many Scriptural forms to ourselves every day: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Or, “Christ died for our sins…and rose on the third day.” Or, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

May we never tire of the essential, fundamental, comfort-giving, life-shaping, endlessly captivating, daily sustenance, and deep ocean of the love of God. It interests me that in Psalm 115 the wonder and works of God are contrasted with idols which are ineffective, hopeless, and futile, i.e., loveless. What are yours?

I regret not going out to the sandbar and deeper water with Karen. Next time, I will.

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