This morning, I took a walk along The Entrance beach, watching the waves crash against rocks, splashing low flying pelicans, disorientating what few surfers dare to enter it.
I haven’t seen the waves this violent in all my years of leaving on the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales. The backwash leaves a trail of slime as high as the steps that lead to the surf club, a memory of the sea that cast it there.
There’s no room for sand-faring pedestrians. I look above, walkers, joggers, family picnickers wander on the boardwalk. No-one is foolish enough to enter the territory of the waves right now.
What would happen if I entered the waves? If I walked into the unfolding terror of the sea? The waves would consume me. I would struggle in vain to find safety.
I would soon become exhausted. I would soon be lost to the deep blue.
I walk a little further, following the current. Where would I end up?
The gushing waves flow into a lagoon, leading under the Entrance overpass. Here, the water is clear, calm and peaceful. I can see a clear reflection of myself in the water’s edge. I can see the rocks I lay on last year, as I contemplated the majesty of my Creator. They are now submerged, but unharmed.
If I entered the violent, rushing surf, and I resisted the struggle, I would be channelled into these calmer, more attractive waters.
If I struggled, I’d surely drown. I’d hit the rocks with such force, that I would never see safety again.
As it is with God. I may enter His awesome presence, be consumed by the wonder of His eternal plan, but unless I stop fighting Him, I’ll never be effective. I’ll never find peace.
I’ll perish in the struggle.
It feels unnatural to forgo the fight and succumb to the water’s thrashing, trusting its benevolence. It feels unnatural to trust a Force that is yet unseen to me.
But God requires that of me. He requires my full, unashamed trust. He does not require my complete understanding of His plan. He just wants me to trust it.
God is bigger than these waves. He’s stronger, wilder, more unpredictable and so much more terrifying. But unlike the waves, God is loving, gentle, slow to anger and quick to mercy.
Walk into Me, Emma. Stop fighting Me. It’ll do you no good. Be consumed by Me. Let Me break you for my purposes. Your heart is so tenderly broken. You struggle under a wait of enormous, hidden pain. I know your pain. I took it. I carried it. I felt it crush me on that Cross. I thought of you, and what you would do in My name. I loved you then, I love you now. Do you remember that?
You feel lonely, but you are not alone. I have never left you. Try to remember a time when I was not in your life. You won’t find one instance. I have always been there, waiting for you to remember Me. Remember the Cross. Remember my love. Remember that I Am, and I always will be.
Your heart is broken for the people of the Central Coast. Your pain is a fraction of My own. Draw near to My heart, I will show you. Stop clinging to the pieces of what I have broken for My will. Here on the beach, drop them. Leave this brokenness for the waves to wash away from you. Along with it, leave your pride, which causes you to draw to wrestle control from Me.
Give it to me, and I will bring you peace that surpasses your understanding, the likes of which you have never experienced before.
He waits for me to be humbled by His intimate love.
I’m reminded of the revelation given to me last year as I walked this same stretch of the earth, on SummerSalt 2014. Seeing the footprints in the sand, God revealed to me a picture of the Central Coast. My neighbours have no reason to turn to Christ, because their hearts have been trampled and polluted by countless religious pedestrians. It has caused much damage in their lives. Vaccinated to the Truth, by a carefully constructed lie.
Last year, I prayed for a storm to disrupt the comfortable complacency of the Central Coast. I prayed that a mighty wind would rush through the Coast, removing the footprints of every lie that has even imprinted itself.
This year, I see the storm has come. The footprints are gone. No-one dares trample the sand that the mighty waves have wiped clear.
But what I didn’t realise then, was that the storm I prayed for was not an all encompassing revival. It was rather, a pray for a heart of contrition to permeate the Central Coast.
I was praying not for many, but for one: Myself.
What I was praying for was not a picture of the Central Coast, it was a picture of my own heart, trampled by sin, covered in pride, complacent of God’s will for me.
We’ve sung it, “Lord, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander…” Am I ready to do it?
Lest I forget Your glory. Lest I ever dare forget my brokenness. Lead me to the shore of my pain and carry it, Lord.