Written by: Vivian Wilson
I unpacked. I stayed the full week in Florida in a condo with no balcony over looking the beach. And there, God proved Himself to be faithful, loving, gracious, and compassionate. He proved Himself to be my Heavenly Father, even when His daughter was acting like a spoiled child.
The weather was perfect. The water was calm, smooth as glass, and the perfect temperature. The beach was not crowded. And this child of the King was upset and angry because there was no balcony for Pete’s sake!
But Tuesday, my Father gave me something better than a balcony. I was sitting at a table under an umbrella just off the beach watching another unique and spectacular sunset.
This beautiful masterpiece was accompanied by the sound of the surf coming ashore and a welcome ocean breeze. As the sun seemed to touch the water in its descent, I took notice of a row of about 20 lounge chairs lined up on the sand in front of me. I really hadn’t paid that much attention to them before, but as the sun was disappearing at the horizon, I was drawn to one. So I moved from the table to the chair and sat semi-reclined so that I could look up into the sky.
I watched as the stars began to appear a few at a time until I was gazing at millions of them. And then I saw a “shooting star.” That’s when it dawned on me. I would have missed all of this if I had a balcony. You see, I would have been sitting on my balcony, because that was my plan, where I would not have had the view that I enjoyed sitting away from the building and the lights.
On the balcony, I would have been reading or writing, that was my plan, maybe even enjoying a glass of wine (gasp!), because that was my plan. I would have been totally distracted, settling for, at best, listening to the surf. (That is if I didn’t have music playing).
The balcony became a symbol to me of my plans, expectations, and autonomy. When I am so foolish to want things my way and expect them to happen as if I can control the uncontrollable, life gets messy. I get messy. I am not happy. I miss out on God’s best.
Pr.19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
But by His grace, God showed me a better way. He gave me a better “balcony”. As I gazed into the heavens that night, I was reminded of how big God is, how powerful He is, how beautiful He is. And relative to that, how small and insignificant I am. Yet to Him, I am not insignificant. In fact, I am worth the blood of His only Son. A love so great compels me to love and trust Him with my life.
God gave me another gift last week, as if my “balcony” wasn’t enough. On the last day, I was standing in water up to my neck looking back at the shore. As I turned toward the horizon, there in front of me so near that I could almost touch him, was a six foot manatee. (I really don’t know how I knew since I’ve never seen one, but I just knew. Hmmm). I took a step back, not out of fear which is really amazing, but surprise. He stayed, looking at me, for a brief moment before swimming out to deeper water. It was a magnificent moment.
I looked online when I could, and found that indeed it was a manatee. Indulge me here: the manatee is also known as a sea cow and is the Florida state mammal. The nick-name is appropriate. They are really kind of ugly. But they are known as the calmest of sea creatures, and though their appearance would deceive, they are very graceful swimmers.
It was a good week. The gift of the manatee was God’s punctuation mark on the week. The manatee will be a reminder of the week that God immersed me in His Love and Grace and Peace.
His peace is found when I surrender to Him everything, holding on to nothing: not people, not plans, nor possessions.
I asked myself these questions last week:
“What will be different about me when I go home?”
“What will it look like to be totally yours, LORD, to be totally surrendered?”
I’m not sure, time will tell. But I know I think differently. I am more mindful of His love and grace. I am more thankful for everything, good things and things that don’t seem so good. In this process, I pray that I will become more useful as a servant who surrenders to her Master.
A work in progress,