by Annette Bridges. © 2007. All rights reserved.
The jet engines were roaring with the promise that take off was fast approaching, and we would soon be on our way. We were beginning the dream vacation we had long been anticipating — a celebration of our 25th anniversary.
The anticipation was so high I could almost feel the sea breeze on my face, smell the salt water and hear the ocean surf.
We looked forward to swimming and snorkeling Maui’s Pacific Ocean waters, activities we both enjoy. We were anxiously awaiting an ocean view — a real treat of a view since we live on a cattle ranch in north Texas and glimpses of the ocean are infrequent.
Throughout my childhood years, my mom thought a trip to the ocean was a cure for anything. Anytime we were struggling with some difficulty or had a major decision looming, my mom would suggest a trip to the ocean in search of peace or direction. Eventually, I began to associate peace of mind, body and spirit as only truly possible when I was by the sea.
I do love to pray sitting by the sea. I can’t help but feel peace-filled in those moments. I’ve begun to liken the seashore to my prayer closet — that kind of closet Christ Jesus instructed us about when he said, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet…”
Or as “The Message” Bible translates his words, “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
I think honest communicating with God requires understanding and acknowledging the inseparable bond between me and my divine, eternal Parent. When I trust in His love and presence wherever I am, this helps to quiet anxiety and weariness as I listen for His guidance.
It’s sometimes difficult not to role-play the dramatic scene of the day, starring the stress-filled me, the angry me, the sad me, the bewildered me or some other “me.”
So in my conversations with my Father-Mother God, I find I hear God’s messages clearer when I first speak boldly to the trouble at hand. Like when Jesus calmed the storm at sea declaring — “Peace, be still.”
Apparently, Jesus was sleeping in the rear section of a ship when his disciples woke him alerting him to a bad storm. High winds and waves had become so intense that the ship was getting tossed around pretty bad — enough so the disciples were afraid for their lives. In the gospel of Mark, we read that Jesus got up, “rebuked the wind,” spoke those famous three words — “Peace, be still” — and “the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
“Peace” was proclaimed with such boldness, as if Jesus was affirming peace as a law of God. A law powerful enough to “still” the high winds and waves. A law, which when enforced, would bring about tranquil, untroubled, undisturbed, harmonious results.
So when I’m confronted with problems, I’ve discovered that a good beginning for my prayers is to contemplate peace as the ever-present, always active and available law of God.
I remind myself that I’m God’s beloved daughter. Created in His image. Reflecting His nature. Good.
I’m encouraged as I remember Father-Mother God is indeed a good and loving parent, forever with me, watching over me, caring for me, guiding me. I only need to listen for His Word to feel his grace embracing me.
This kind of honest communication has always led to solutions, healing, and most definitely . . . peace in my life.
I admit I can hardly wait for our next seaside vacation. But the conviction in my heart tells me to believe firmly that peace is a present possibility, whether I’m at home or by the ocean.
Peace as a law of God is a permanent spiritual peace. Peace that is not dependent on a person or a place. Nor on an occasion or circumstance. And God continuously assures us that this peace is ours. Having a little conversation with God always reminds me that this is true.