Introduction - A Moment in the Waves

Psalm 8:1

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth!

The waves roll in with a steady rhythm one after the other, each coming a bit further in as the tide is waxing. They rise with the pressure of their breaking and spill over at the top, white foam on a blue-green base, before they crash into the ground. Can you smell the salt water? Do you feel the sand between your toes? The heat of the sun is on your back, the kiss of the breeze is in your hair, and the call of the ocean is in your ears. Wading into the waves you feel the sand pulled from beneath your feet in the constant shifting of the beach. You travel deeper and further into the ocean, traveling slowly, moving against the current. As a wave comes in and strikes you, you brace for the impact, awaiting the push of the water. You continue deeper till you stand with the water splashing around your collarbone, just at your shoulders, and you wait. Looking out into that endless horizon you see it. Right now it is just a ripple in the water that is yards and yards away from you, but it is coming. It comes closer, moving quickly, and you know that this is it. You brace yourself against the soggy ocean floor as the wave grows in front of you. The water around you recedes as it is being pulled back to join the force of this breaking wave. There is the sight of blue and white and green and then it happens. Crash! In an instant you are swept off your feet and tumbled. For a moment you have lost all control. The wave has you and wave will move you, just as it is moving this sea. The wave will have its way. You can not stand in the force of it, but you know that. You let the wave toss you and carry you. There is fear in this moment, there is danger, and there is also thrill; the thrill of letting go, of going for “the ride”, letting something else dictate where you are going and how you will get there. Of course, it is just a moment, and then the wave blows past and once again you stand awaiting the next to come.

Have you ever done that? Gone “body surfing”? It’s great for those of us that have no idea what to do with a board and can never get up on a pair of water-skis. When I visit the ocean I always get this sense that there is something bigger than me, something greater. And I wade into the water, and I play in the waves, because maybe then I can be one with this thing that is so much larger than me. Maybe if I walk into the ancient water that has been here since the beginning I can feel like somehow I am a part of it. This is not mysticism, it is sensitivity.

When I began this journey of trying to understand God, to get a picture of Him, an image in my mind, this is what it felt like. It was like wading into a vast endless ocean, so much larger, greater, more powerful than I can ever comprehend. Each step into the water drawing me deeper into the mystery and further away from the dry land that I understood so well. The very ground beneath my feet doesn’t stay still, because the ocean is not like the land. The land doesn’t move and shift like this. The ocean is alive! And as I travel further in, I begin to lose control. As the waves of this ocean crash against me I find it hard to move in my own will. And then there is that moment, the moment when the wave takes over and breaks over my head. That’s when I have lost all sense of control that I ever had. There is fear in this, there is respect, awe, wonder, danger, and greatest thrill that I have ever known.

So many people paint an image of God, an image of the Angry Taskmaster, or Benevolent Father, the Critical Judge, or the Distant Creator. But none of these images even comes close to describing the comprehensive ocean of God and who “He” is. Like a liquid, God will break down every barrier, beat down the breakers, and flow wherever He wills. To attempt to understand Him is to dive headlong into a mystery greater than you and I even have the ability to imagine.

As we begin this journey together in these pages. May you step with me into the ocean of the unknown. Experience the pull of something far greater than you. And maybe even let go and let the will of the water take you. Allow the waves to crash over your head. Lose your will to the will of this mystery, this all-consuming, all-powerful, ocean of God.