I am blessed to be spending the week at the beach. Of all the places in the world and all the vacations I have taken none compare to days spent at the beach. The constant rhythm of the waves, the sand between my toes and the fresh clean air are most refreshing. For me spiritually nothing compares to the beach.
Years ago my uncle lay dying in an intensive care unit. He was a Vietnam Veteran that unfortunately had become a chain smoker and had been exposed to the dreaded Agent Orange while fighting over there. We knew that he had been on the breathing machine for over 45 days this particular stay and things were not looking good for him.
I remember rubbing his soft hair and kissing his forehead. I remember bending down and whispering in his ear. I told him that I understood if he was tired of fighting for each and every breath. I told him that I knew he believed in God and that there was a place for him already set. I told him how much I appreciated his love and wisdom for me down through the years. I told him that I loved him very much but that we would be alright if he decided it was time to go on ahead. I asked him to promise me just one thing and he squeezed my hand. I asked him to come back to me and tell me if all that we had discussed about God and Heaven were true. I asked him to confirm for me that God truly was Whom People Say He Is. As painful as it was to say those things out loud I knew those things needed to be said. Again he squeezed my hand. Little did I know later on that very night that once I left the hospital my uncle would decide to give up and go on ahead. I wasn’t gone 15 minutes before the ICU nurse called for me to come back up there. My beloved Uncle E had quietly and suddenly passed.
A few days later after a terrible ice storm my family made the dangerous journey out to the family church to lay my beloved uncle to rest. For some of us it was very sad. As I approached the casket I wasn’t quite so sad. He looked handsome as ever and at peace lying there. The service was beautiful. My cousin the preacher gave the passionate eulogy as he always did. The choir sang my Uncle’s favorite songs and hymns. People got up and told the truth about how kind, funny and generous my uncle had been. Then it was time for the final viewing. For me this was it.
I rose from my pew and headed to the front of the church. Amazing enough I still wasn’t sad. I had spent so many long days and nights with my uncle through the years. It had been hard to watch him every moment of the day struggle to catch his breath. Even through his jokes and laughter the poor man had to struggle for his breath. For me to be sad about him going to be with the Lord simply was not fair. I remember bending down to stroke his hair and all of a sudden all that I could hear was the loud sound of water roaring through my ears. It was a loud and powerful sound that to this day if I get still and quiet I can hear it faintly in my ears. I remember not being alarmed or scared. I remember feeling light and I felt like I was floating. I could honestly feel the presence of peace that surpassed all understanding. I felt the overwhelming presence of God right where I stood. As I felt myself getting lightheaded I whispered to my spouse that I was about to faint. In that very moment that is exactly what I did. I had never done that. Honestly up until this moment that has never happened again. In death my uncle had blessed me with a priceless gift. He had persuaded God to meet me right there.
In the years that passed since my Uncle left me I have been drawn to the beach. Before this I really could care less about being there. Something about the sound of the water. The peace of the waves brings me spiritual nourishment and peace. My soul is most content when I am here. Strangely when I visit the beach I sleep all night, no aches, no pains, no hot flashes, no stress, my heart finds a steady rhythm and I take the deepest breaths. I am forever convinced that the presence of God can be felt best at the beach. I rise early and I am drawn to the waves. In the early mornings of the sunrise I clear my thoughts and find peace within my soul spending time with God here. The sounds of the water and the non stop movement of the waves……..are mere tangible reassurances that God is still near. Just as sure as the waves come gently upon the shore day after day, hour upon hour, minute by minute and second by second. God is still here on earth listening to our prayers. In a crazy world full of noise, confusion, hatred and violence I encourage those whose souls are spent to journey here. God in His Awesome Wonders and Glory is waiting right here. In case you don’t believe me the verse is written right here………….
1Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; 2and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. Ezekiel 43 1-2 NASB
Blessing Upon Blessings