I love the sea. The sea is prayer for me.
Just a few weeks ago, I was blessed to spend a week on Whidbey Island , Washington with my son Taylr. It was such a delight in so many ways. God’s majesty, glory and creativity were on full display – being poured out again and again in the endless ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide. The power of the sea draws me into the eternality of the crashing waves and my thirst is quenched.
On our last afternoon, as we walked along the Ebey’s Landing trail , I began to wonder “what is here that I am being invited to take home with me?” Yes, there is the beauty and peace that is pervasive, along with a sweetness of the time spent with Taylor. But I sensed God was offering something more.
Now home and reflecting on my experience, I ask “what was different this time?” The still small voice speaking in my heart says “you received my gift”. “If only you knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me and I would give you living water. Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4: 10,14 NLT)
Hmmm…. what would life look like if I really knew the gift God has for me, for us and for the world and RECEIVED it unconditionally? Receiving the gift of God’s Boundless Presence from the shores of Puget Sound was easy. Each wave was a testimony of God’s pouring out of God’s Self and being offered to me as living water.
I know, too, that in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection he held nothing back. He poured out his everything unconditionally and in doing so gave me the gift of eternal life. Not only 2000 years ago but NOW. Do I really know? Do I really receive the gift so generously given? All I need do is “turn around” as the song says. I am simply to receive the gift, accept the gift and cherish it as a “pearl of great price.”
Yet sometimes the gift is offered in experiences of pain, suffering, worry, challenges, frustration. Then I am not so willing to receive. When i insist on getting my own way, maintaining control and hold fast to the illusion that I am “in charge” of my own life (and better yet the life of others) I am not receiving the gift. When I sink into feelings of unworthiness, judgment of myself and others, when I run my life at warp speed – I can’t possibly be open to receive the outpouring of God’s gift of Love.
The command is to lose my life so that I can receive Divine Life. I seem to resist at every turn. “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you is a gift the world cannot give. so don’t be troubled or afraid” John 14:27
So how do I practice receiving the gifts promised? (It is practice, practice, practice.) I sit. I listen. I watch. Like Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Mary the Mother of God and others before me – my prayer is “Here I Am”. I practice letting go of my desire for security, affection, control and receive the moment just at it is. For in the moment is God’s Boundless Presence. It’s a bit like standing on the shores of Puget Sound only for now I sit in my chair.