It was one of those glorious mornings that inspired me to quickly rise out of bed. We were on vacation in Florida. That first morning the sun, in its initial few seconds of peaking over the horizon, leaked through the blinds. The hope of a new day sweetly called to me, inviting me to come and see. I quietly got out of bed, and after a few moments peeked outside the window as the coffee began to brew. The sun that woke me seemed to be rising without much fanfare, with only a few early souls taking notice.
Coffee in hand, I made my way down to the beach. The water waved good morning as it revealed the shells it had graciously deposited over night. The peaceful lap of the waves is one of my favorite sounds as they cascade lightly on the shore, leaving iridescent traces on the sand for just a breath. Such a controlled ending to what must be a vastly wild ocean! What makes it stop, just there? What power is this that speaks to the ocean and tells it where to end?
"Who enclosed the sea with doors
When it burst forth and went out of the womb;
When I made the clouds its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band,
And marked for it My [appointed] boundary
And set bars and doors [defining the shorelines],
And said, ‘This far you shall come, but no farther;
And here your proud waves shall stop’?”
—Job 38:8-11 (AMP)
The sun is now high in the sky, and the beach is filling up with those who request its warmth instead of its solitude. As for me, for a moment I realized something; for a moment, I hadn't been fearful. You could say I was, for a moment, fearless. Standing next to the ocean I somehow saw things in their rightful place, in proper perspective. Life was big. Life was vastly wild and messy. Life was deeper than my ability to truly dive and discover; but It was plainly in the hands of Someone greater. Life was not my burden to carry. It was His who makes the ocean stop, just there.
Years ago I had been paralyzed by fear, fear that often began with a thought, worry that rose up and posed the question, "What if?" If I allowed it to grow, as fear does, it would multiply, taking on a life of its own, leaving me feeling helpless. I didn't have the knowledge nor the understanding to identify it by name. Even if I could have communicated what was paralyzing me, simply knowing it was not powerful enough to stop its crippling effect on my everyday thought life. What I needed more than knowledge was to be rescued from this prison I was trapped in. I needed a Savior. I needed to know my Maker, the One who created me, who could give me a foundation of Truth to build upon. I needed promises to stand on and purpose to live from.
I realized that salvation was impossibly far from being a set of rules or a standard I could measure up to. Salvation was a person, Jesus Christ. He was the gift that had the power to break the thickest, most constrictive chains that wrapped around my shoulders. Those chains of sin and defeat were left at the foot of the cross, along with my "old man". When I walked out from the power of the cross I walked out a new creation in the freedom of the Son.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him
as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the
old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away.
Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new
life]. —2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMP)
When the foundation of all my thoughts is Christ, everything built on top of that foundation stands tall in the worldly winds of any storm. Armed with a biblical worldview, a framework from which to view the world around me truthfully, I was equipped to challenge the lying beliefs that so often brought defeat and fear into my circumstances. This epic battle would not be fought alone either. The power of the Holy Spirit began to unveil and reveal the depths of God far beyond human understanding.
But just as it is written [in Scripture],
“Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in
affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the
benefits that He has bestowed].”
For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit;
for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the
[profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human
—1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (AMP)
In a very practical sense, thoughts often come without our permission but we do not have to accept or entertain every one of them. Martin Luther says this about thoughts, "You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair." From Genesis to Revelation God reminds us to "fear not", which means there is wisdom in His Word, available to us as believers to help us resist unhealthy thoughts and challenge lying beliefs. The Holy Spirit reveals all things God has prepared for us and sets the truth up against the false, making clear the path we are to travel and debilitating fear at its source.
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present
your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy
and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of
worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial
values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you
mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and
ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God
is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for
—Romans 12:1-2 (AMP)
God calls us to His side to reveal His glory. As on that glorious morning at the beach, He shines the light of His mercies on our experiences. If we are sensitive to His beautiful desire for a relationship with us, He will remind us every moment of the day that life is in the hands of someone greater. Life is not our burden to carry, but His who makes the ocean stop, just there.