There is something supernatural that happens to for me on the seashore. This summer I was able to experience it again during our trip to Miami. It was the evening Bradley, my parents and I went to the beach on Key Biscayne.
When we arrived, the sky was grey, blue, and purple; the breeze, pleasantly warm. As we crossed the sand to the water’s edge, the miracle began to unfold. Beholding the familiar green grey of the Atlantic, hearing the faithful waves on the shore and accompanying wind in the trees behind us, I could feel every ounce of tension melt out of me. My very heart and soul were washed and quieted by the water’s rush. In just a few seconds the hum of my mind and the tightness of my body dissipated into a silent, receptive softness. I was reduced to merely a gentle breathing. My spirit was full of a deep, calm satisfaction.
As I sat, knees pulled up to my chest, gaze fixed upon the immense ocean, my spirit bathed by the rhythmic motion of the water, I knew a peace unequalled. I submitted to the ocean’s majesty, resting in its wonderful gift.
The quietude stayed with me as we drove home under a brilliant pink and orange sunset offset by dark clouds. But away from the shore, the spell wears off.
Once, about a year ago, when in deep anguish over something, weeping to Christ, He carried me to the ocean’s shore. It is the closest thing I have ever had to a vision or an out-of-body experience. In the midst of my pleas for deliverance I suddenly sensed the ocean. I could hear the waves and the breeze. I could almost feel the air. It was strange, but I submitted. Quietly, I lay down on my bed and let it wash over me. My aching heart was stilled, my mind hushed. There in our bedroom, miles from my shore, I rested in the same deep peace. Circumstances had not changed. No solution to the problem had arrived. But the peace was unstoppable.
Only Christ can offer invincible peace. The good news is that He has. In John 14, after promising the Holy Spirit, He says,
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
Paul, in Philippians 4:7 describes it as peace that “surpasses all understanding.” It “guards our hearts and minds.”
Those verses came to mind this Wednesday morning as I struggled to surrender an overpowering concern to Christ. Circumstances were weighing upon me, crushing my sense of hope. Any improvement as probably distant what I sought instead was His peace. The peace of Christ is unfettered by circumstances. It transcends the struggles, disappointments and hurts of this world.
God has not promised to release us from difficulty and pain in this life. In fact, Christ said much to the contrary. But, He has promised His perfect peace in the face of it. Unlike the ocean, or any other earthly source of peace, we can access Christ and His peace anywhere.
Jesus, Calm Haven of the tempest-tossed, please send Your Holy Spirit to wash us with unceasing waves of Your perfect, transcendent peace.
[I wrote this for church meditation. The verses not fully quoted above, but also inspirational to the piece, are Philippians 4:6 & 7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.]