The Power of Image


We took a few short days to visit our daughter and her family in Panama City, FL, and we took a long (yet very cold) walk on the beach at Tyndall Air Force Base. As we walked along, I began to grow quiet as I remembered …

I had just turned 18 when my high school band took a trip to Lake Charles, LA. While there, I was fortunate enough to have a room that looked out over the Gulf of Mexico. I also had to finish my senior English thesis, which was based on Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, and which itself led me on a spiritual journey. As I sat there, looking out to the farthest horizon on the ocean, it suddenly dawned upon me as a young man that this was a powerful image of God for me.

I am drawn to the ocean’s edge, yet it is something that overwhelms me. The ocean brings life to the planet, yet it also is terrifying when its waves become tsunamis that destroy homes and lives. The ocean is both known and unknown; while it has revealed many of it’s secrets, there are still mysteries that remain unsolved. The waters of the ocean are more vast than any of us can imagine, yet we imagine that we have conquered it when we do nothing more than play in the shallowest of its waters.

Likewise, I am drawn to God, yet the power of God can be overwhelming. God is the source of all life, yet the power of God is something to be feared. God is both known and unknown. While we are capable of knowing God intimately, we can never claim to know all the secrets of God. Our God is the God of the universe, and there are times when, admittedly, I sometimes think I know everything about God when I have only dabbled at the water’s edge.

So today, as we walked along, I explained to Layne how the ocean is a powerful symbol of the God of the universe for me and how I can’t walk along its shores without pausing to consider what it is like to live in the presence of the God of all creation! As I look out over the water, I remember God … I remember this spiritual journey that defines my life … and I remember who I am. I am one who is drawn to the waters of our baptism … I am drawn by the very essence of God.

Remember who you are!

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