“We’ll go someday, Faith,” her mother consoled as Faith took a break from helping her Grandmother pack. “We just can’t afford it right now.” Faith’s mother had a comforting way of validating her daughter’s feelings, no matter how trivial the situation seemed.
At age 10, Faith didn’t really understand why she was so upset about her grandmother’s upcoming trip to the beach. She knew it was wrong to be envious, but she wanted to go so badly. Besides that, she knew how much she would miss her favorite playmate. Summertime was fun for a country girl, but tending the garden and wading in the creek didn’t quite compare to the romantic fantasy of a real live trip to the ocean.
Faith had moped around for days in the small house that she shared with her parents and grandmother. Finally, the dreaded day was here. Faith’s aunt and cousins had arrived to pick up her grandmother on their way to the Florida coast. As the family visited, catching up on the latest happenings, Faith waited for the inevitable moment of departure. Would she cry? She certainly hoped not! She was, after all, ten years old.
As the send-off approached, Faith and her wealthier cousins passed the time playing on the front porch. But soon, Faith’s mother came out the screen door cautiously carrying with her an expression of surprised excitement. “Faith,” her mother began with a smile, “your aunt has invited you to go …” Faith didn’t wait to hear the rest. She leapt up and ran around the yard whooping with glee. She had dared not hope! There was no invitation to accept, no question as to her answer. As the rest of the family observed with amusement, Faith didn’t care how she looked. She was going to the beach, an adventure she had dreamed about for most of the decade that had been her life.
Faith was not disappointed. The ocean was everything she had imagined it to be. As she gazed out in awe over the endless blue water, she thanked God for the beauty of the sea, but most of all, she was grateful for the gift of the experience. “If God is in control of this huge ocean,” she pondered in her young way, “then I can be sure that there will never be anything in my life too big for Him to handle.” It was a lesson that no one had to teach, it just was. Clear, simple, and as observable as the picture before her. It was an illustration of God’s love that would stick with Faith for the rest of her life.
There would be many more beach vacations for Faith: trips with her parents in more prosperous times, trips with college friends, and family outings with her husband and children. But each time she returned to the shore, she remembered the gift of that very first encounter.
As the years passed and trials came, Faith remembered. When her friends weren’t friendly, she remembered. When her parents died, she remembered. When her children strayed, she remembered. Whenever Faith felt lost and alone, she remembered the ocean, and the simple lesson she’d learned so long ago. The name “Faith” had come to accurately describe the character of the woman she had become.
Nearly eight decades later, the dream of a new journey filled Faith’s thoughts. As she lay in her bed, worn out and so weary, she imagined the peaceful sway of the ocean’s waves. Was it a dream? Her thoughts immediately returned to that very first trip in what seemed like another lifetime, and of her excitement to go on a new and exciting adventure.
She was sad and restless once again, longing to go…but her Father had said it was not yet time. Still, could today be the day? Faith raised her head off the pillow and squinted to see, what was it? It couldn’t be! The face of her beloved mother once again smiling and bringing good news… “Faith, your heavenly Father has invited you to …” Faith didn’t wait to hear the rest. She felt herself melt into her mother’s arms and dance weightlessly in celebration, as they moved into the light of God’s presence together. There was no invitation to accept, no question as to her answer. At last, the adventure Faith had been anticipating her entire life.
You rule over the surging sea; when it’s waves mount up, You still them.
Psalm 89:9 NIV
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