Some of you may have remembered this devotional blog topic having been covered previously, but I thought it was important to approach it from a slightly different vantage point today. Having just returned a few weeks ago from my first visit to Nags Head and the Outer Banks in many years, I thought it appropriate to look at that wondrous strand of inhabited sandbar from the perspective of the responsibility we humans have for its welfare. After all, dominion over all the earth by people who were created in the image of God who made them brings with it some very important responsibilities. God gave us the privilege of using everything on this earth as part of life, yet how often we forget the responsibility we have for the actions we carry out.
Let me start by a short discussion of the pictures at the top which I set up in a slide show, for I think pictures are worth a thousand words and in this particular case, I think they clearly show some things that we should have and could have handled much better with a little less push to fill every square inch of land with humanity and a desire for a little less wealth in the process. It is incumbent on all of us believers to remember that everything we have on this earth really does not belong to us, it is all God's, and when the time comes for us to depart, we can take nothing with us. And what we should look forward to if we live according to Him is the glory of learning upon meeting our judgment day is that yes, our name is in the Book of Life, signifying we have lived in a way that is pleasing to Him and ends in everlasting eternal life.
Looking at the pictures by the numbers above, they tell quite a story about what has happened to the beach known to me as Nags Head. After all, I remember every summer from the time I first had memory after my birth as being spent on that wonderful beach until completing high school. And while we knew it would change over time, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it would have been developed to the point it is today. Arriving in mid-April for my first visit back in twenty-eight years, I was amazed that not only could I not see the ocean on the drive in, I couldn't smell it, hear it or even get a wisp of a breeze from it. It was as if I could have been any heavily populated town in America with just a small bit of sand seen from time to time.
Picture one shows the family cottage my father contracted with my Uncle Hal to build in 1947 when it was about four years old. It was wide open, cool and the most pleasant place I have ever been in my life to get a good night's sleep. You could smell the sea, feel the breeze and hear the soothing sounds of the ocean which lulled a tired little boy to sleep. You could also look out the window and see it, not penned in a by a mountain of sand required because of too much erosion and with no way for the changing winds to return sand. Picture two shows the cottage from the road side after Dad had the screen porch enclosed, following Hurricane Barbara and the two or more feet of sand that it deposited on the floor. It took everyone several days to shovel it out, wash the floor and bringing it back the way it was and Dad was insistent that it never would happen again. As it turned out, the enclosed porch was a wonderful addition, allowing us to spend many a night sleeping on a cot or roll-away on the porch as the breezes came through each night. And since I love to walk the beach at sunrise, the large picture window made sure the glare would begin to come in and wake me up for my daily walk. It has always been glorious as the day begins on the ocean.
Picture three was sent to me by one of my readers and I am thankful I had it before going back to Nags Head for the shock may have been too great had I not seen it. But pictures four five and six tell the other side of the story and when I arrived and walked up the walkway in April and saw things from the oceanfront, I must confess I did shed a tear. The height and different quality of the sand that obviously came from dredging was entirely different from what I remember and the lack of sea oats tells me that nature has reacted in its on defensive way. Thinking back, it's hard to imagine little boys not being able to run out the oceanfront door and up the dunes, instead being required to go up a walkway and down a steep set of steps without touching the sand. We certainly could have never collected bottles under such conditions, that's for sure. And from my perspective, and in saying this I know those who never experienced my joys can never understand, to be on the oceanfront and not be able to see, smell or hear the ocean to our front makes me wonder if is even being at the sea at all. I guess it's just a sign of my age and it signals why I believe it's so important to tell my stories to those who want to know about those days and how they were.
Finally, it leaves me with a big question that I hope each of us will at least consider, and it's this. With the responsibility of having dominion over all the earth, just what does God think of how we've done with that responsibility? Sadly, I can't help thinking that He is not very pleased, that He sees money and self-interest as some of the driving forces that have become objects of human worship for many. Of course, that is just my opinion. But when I look back at the old days and compare them to the current one in picture form of the beautiful beach and all of His other great natural gifts we have been blessed with, I personally can come up with no other conclusion. I only hope that we all can wake up and smell the roses and cut our losses by putting our faith in Him going forward instead of man. God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend.