This morning I took my customary walk at sunrise, admiring God’s display of beauty. I walked, I watched, I thought, I sang, I prayed. I felt invigorated and alive. But as I turned my back on the ocean and started toward the exit road, as the sounds of the surf and wind quieted and my steps became more labored due to the softer sand, I felt an almost physical return of the burdens in my heart and mind.
And I thought, “What is the point?”
As I had been walking, I had been thinking about the various lessons I had learned from this time at the beach. Mentally, I had begun writing posts titled “Mini lessons from the beach” and “Grieving leaving,” as I prepare not only to leave behind the beach but also to leave behind my summer vacation. I return to my role as teacher next week. I had contemplated the many lessons I had learned from my morning walks and other experiences, and I had felt in advance my sadness at leaving, and felt that in some way, you, my readers, and I would benefit from such heartfelt posts. And maybe that is so.
But when I felt that immediate pressure of life almost overwhelm me just upon exiting the presence of the rising sun and the courts of praise to our God that the beach has been to me, I realized that the experiences of the sunrises, the peace I experience at the beach mean nothing if they end when I leave the sand behind. My time with my heavenly Father has to infuse my daily life–not just long enough to walk the beach with Him or write a post honoring Him.
I know my burden could bring to mind comforting Scripture, such as Jesus’ call to “all you who are weary and burdened” in Matthew 11:28, but it really made me think of the message in the book of James:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25).
I have been given a gift of a week to bask in the presence of God in the glory of His creation, and He has spoken to my heart. If I simply forget the lessons He has taught me through the experiences and events of this week, I am not being a doer of the Word. His lessons would be wasted on me. I want to be that believer that looks intently–and remembers by doing–and, as promised, be blessed in what I do.
Peace isn’t a place; serenity isn’t a sunrise. I may find them at the beach, but I must purpose to take them with me, to transform the way I think with God’s truths, to remember so they make a difference in my life.
Because that is the point.