Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lessons from the Sea

I watched the sun rise over the ocean this morning. I am blessed to be in a beach house on the shores of the Atlantic in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the extravagant gift of friends who like to bless people in ministry by offering the gift of a vacation in their beautiful home on the ocean. From the beach house window I watched dolphins jump in synchronicity. A wide eyed crab seemed to pose for me in the sand as I took his picture. All day I have listened to the powerful roar of the waves as they crescendo and crash.

In my first year out of college I became a certified scuba diver. I have done enough diving and snorkeling to know that as I look out over the blue waves of the ocean there is another world below its surface. Underneath, the ocean is teeming with thousands of species of multi-colored fish, sea turtles, lobster, stingrays, sharks, porpoises and jellyfish. Oceans cover more than 75% of the earth’s surface and most of the life in it has never been observed by a human eye. It’s just there, wonderfully complex and beautiful.

I enjoy backpacking in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. I love going to the book stores in the areas where I hike. I have to restrain myself. Alongside shelf after shelf of books about birds and trees and animals, I have seen books identifying at least 10,000 different types of mushrooms! And you can buy animal scat guides. It’s amazing what you can learn from the excrement of the animals on the trail. I have become especially interested in using this method to identify the beasts I might encounter while hiking. Every animal’s scat is different. Come on, God, did you have to pay such attention to detail?!

As I trek along the ocean beach and through the mountains and the woods I am amazed by the variety of species of plants and animals. God could have created one kind of flower, or perhaps two or three, and the world would have been beautiful. But there are 40,000 identified species of Orchids alone! There is an effusiveness to God’s character, an overflowing extravagance. St. Augustine called it the “plentitude” of God, the lavish, overflowing love and creativity of God is bountifully displayed in nature. I want to live in that place of extravagant love, creativity and generosity, the kind of generosity I am experiencing from the friends who have provided this vacation for me, and in the effusive plentitude of God.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

today this blog post was such a blessing. I never thought of God as creative I guess. Not that I thought He wasn't, just that I never connected those words together. It is so true, His creativity is so good to me!

Paul Luikart said...

Outer Banks, eh? Very nice. Emily and I were just there for a week, two weeks ago. It was my first time going. I loved it. I thought there was going to be a lot of touristy stuff(and there was, kinda) but I was really surprised at all the natural beauty. I didn't expect that, I guess. Wildlife preserves, hiking trails...We kayaked by moonlight on the Kitty Hawk Bay of the Pamlico Sound. Beautiful.

Tom said...

Please enjoy yourself and let the cares of the city remain here while your there please.....

Your love for the people is all I know about you and when you get a chance to get away it makes me glad that your taking time out to recharge and even listen to Gods still small voice when your out there seeing His creation up close. Do you hear the rocks crying out I wonder? Enjoy these moments Arloa.

Tom