Last week when I was searching for a family photo, I found this journal entry, written on some paper, tucked in among the pictures. As we were about to leave for St. Augustine (for a week, not a month), it caught my attention, and I thought I would share it here with you…
June 18, 2002
When I was given the opportunity to live at St. Augustine beach for a month, I determined to walk every morning with the sunrise. The first few days were simply glorious. The days would offer sporadic rain, but the clouds at sunrise simply enhanced the splendor of the golden ball of light as it emerged from the ocean into the heavens. It would appear as an orange sphere at the horizon, but as it rose, it became more and more golden, and the entire sky–even far to the west–was transformed. There can be no diamonds or gold that could glisten more. The clouds changed from gray to beautiful shades of orange and pink and purple and blue, lined not by silver but by pure gold. The higher it rose, the brighter it beamed–so as to hurt my shaded eyes.
It was so incredible, my heart fairly leaped within me, wondering at the Creator of it all, and verses of Scripture–like “the heavens declare the glory of the LORD”–flowed from my mouth unbidden (Psalm 19:1).
Each day was so different. After the glories of the cloudy mornings, the first cloudless day I watched the arrival of the sun with much less delight. The great ball of fire had no clouds to transform into works of art. But the seas mirrored its glory.
My biggest dilemma those days was in choosing the direction of my walk, for the sun seemed to rise directly in front of my condominium. When I walked either north or south, I had to constantly turn my head toward the ocean to see the masterpiece of the sky.
This morning, however, was one that followed a night of rain and promised a day of the same. The sky was so gray, I had to keep checking the clock to make sure it really was 6 a.m. Despite the drizzle, I decided to walk–and the isolation alone was worth the chilliness of those perpetual drops of rain. The fair-weather fans were sleeping in. I walked–south–and continually tossed my head to the left to peer at my friend the sun. It seemed he would not appear today. The gray and the drizzle continued, and I set my eyes on the sea birds diving into the ocean and the patterns of the waves on the shore. Rather than a glorious awakening, the sun arose without my awareness–no great orange ball, no gold, no diamonds. I simply became aware of a lightening in the gray and an ability to single out individual clouds. The sun had risen.
And my heart wrapped itself around the presence of the Son. I became aware that God’s presence in our lives is like the sun–the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow–and yet our experience of Him varies like the sunrise. Its vividness and beauty changes with the clouds and circumstances of our lives. Some days seem cloudless. God simply and clearly is at work in us. Some days are just cloudy enough to make God seem that much more powerful and majestic as He displays His handiwork in the midst of our lives. And other days seem gray and colorless–yet if we look closely, we will see that the Son lightens the load and defines the clouds so we know–without a shadow of a doubt–that He is here.
Despite my often clouded perception, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is present. I am glad.