- From the hymn "For The Beauty of the Earth", first stanza. Words by Folliot Pierpoint, 1864, music by Conrad Kocher, 1838. Arrangement by W.H. Monk, 1861
The picture shown above is of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, appearing to be in the beginning throes of a building storm. I used the picture this morning on my Facebook author page to represent the changing face that nature can take quickly. Some people loved it, others not so much, saying it was gloomy and almost frightening and while I can understand how someone might come to that determination, I look at it differently. After all, the entirety of the nature which surrounds us, be it sea, mountains, plains or ever dessert were all created by God for His glory. He wants us to enjoy it and use it but only in ways which will be pleasing to Him. And there are many reasons for the changes that take place therein, just sometimes we don't understand what it means.
Now I must confess, my eye for beauty predominantly focuses on the coast and sea as its primary focus since it's where I grew up. But it can be a beautiful meadow, a thick forest, a lake or even a majestic mountain. For me, however, a beautiful and bright sunrise on the ocean, a clear day on the water, but also a stormy sea with rising waves are exceptionally impressive. So, the next time you are headed to the sea, be it for the day or for vacation and are disappointed by a storm, take the time to witness its power and majesty. As long as there isn't lightning, or overly high water, or unmanageable winds, take a walk down by the sea on a rough and rainy day. Wrap up and put on a protective slicker and observe and listen closely. It is just as beautiful in such situations as it is in perfect ones, it just sends us a different message. And the same can be found in all other places that you may find yourself, just through different symbols.
I look at good weather and fair seas as being highly representative of God's grace, while wind and waves which crash on shore represent His power. Perhaps He is just showing us that He both loves us but that He can show us His anger when we refuse to listen. None of us has the answers, but we do know that He made us in His image, so that should be easy to understand He wants us to live as He asks and He presents many answers to what that means in His Holy Word, the Bible but also through song, prayer and fellowship.
The sea is just one of His many wonderful gifts of nature and the bounty that it gives us. Stop, look and listen when you are by the sea and you just might find His answers. I know they help me in just that way. And it's all there for us to behold in sunny and rainy days. All we have to do is open our eyes.
Read the words carefully to the hymn at the opening of this commentary. They might just make it a little bit easier to take in. For the beauty and the gifts that we have been provided should never result in us grumbling or complaining, they should always bring us to Him in praise.
Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful sea and all that it provides. Help us to use it properly and respect its power while in so doing keeping ourselves open and receptive to your love and grace. We pray in the name of Jesus our Savior, Amen.