Early in the morning I watched the ocean awaken. After a fitful night of mostly not sleeping, I gave up the fight about 5:30 a.m., had some coffee, and then decided to take advantage of this family beach vacation–and wake up my husband for a walk to watch the sunrise. “No, ma’am” (my euphemistic, Southern, inaccurate quotation of what he said). Apparently, he did not sleep well either. Snubbed, I decided to go alone.
I walked the short access road to the beach and, instead of an invigorating sea breeze and crashing of the waves, I found the air surprisingly stifling and smelling of fish. The tide was the lowest I remember ever seeing. The ocean was still, waves merely lapping at the beach, and it seemed as if it had slept better than I did and was lingering in the throes of night. But almost as soon as I wrapped my mind around that thought, the ocean started to awaken. A sudden stirring in the depths, an increase in wave height and frequency, and it seemed as if the water were creeping toward me at rather an astonishing rate.
And so I stood, rather than walked, trying to measure a usually imperceptible increase of the tide up the beach, and it seemed to me the ocean was walking toward where I remained planted. Joyfully. I finally could stand it no longer and began my walk into the ever-lightening mist, along the ever-livening ocean. It was difficult to look ahead, enchanted as I was by the ocean’s jubilant bumping and rushing of its bubbling waves to the shore. It became louder and amusing with its waves like chains of dominoes rushing parallel to the shore, their paths abbreviated by their impact with other such rushing waves.
It seemed as if everything–the wind, the waves, the lightening sky–were celebrating in advance of the sun. The prelude before the main event. And I felt the anticipation of creation, feeling as if I were welcoming King Jesus Himself. I burst into song, singing of his steadfast love and his faithfulness that are new every morning.
And then the sun rose. And I envisioned it as the entrance of Jesus–all glory, majesty, and beauty. I knew that later in the day, the sun would be too bright to view directly, too hot to enjoy without seeking relief of shade or water, too dangerous to remain in its presence without sunscreen or appropriate clothing.
But at this moment, I was able to enjoy the miracle of all creation celebrating the rising of this heavenly body, the sun. Knowing that it was a vision of something so much more. Returning to my condo, still filled with sleepers, I searched for the phrase “the heavens declare the glory of God,” and I found the Scripture passage that gives words to what I felt on that lonely beach:
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth” (Psalm 19:1-6).
On that beach, creation’s speechless, wordless, soundless voice spoke to my soul, allowing me another glimpse of my Creator. Its voice reaches far beyond me, going to the end of the Earth, making clear to all the world who God is so that none of us are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20). Psalm 19 in a nutshell: See creation, know the Creator. See an incredible creation, know an incredible Creator exists.
And while I am part of that creation and also fearfully and wonderfully made, what you see doesn’t always declare the glory of God. I have to open my mouth (or my laptop). God gave me speech, words, and sounds–and today I declare He is, indeed, glorious.
For I have seen Him through His handiwork. And it is good. So good.