It was a really warm day and we had been out in the sun. The thought of wading through the waters of the Indian Ocean was irresistible. Well, I decided I had to make the most of this temporary living arrangement while I can…. So my housemate and I took the TWO minute walk to the restaurant on the beach. She went about doing what she wanted while I did what I wanted. A strawberry milkshake in one hand… a book in another… Sand covered wet feet up on a stool… Seated under the woven shade… Breath-taking scenic view… A tender breeze… I thanked God for such a blessing just around the corner.
Having had displayed its grandeur during the day, the sun made a magnificent exit … giving us a time of ‘rest’ while it provides light to the other end of the world! I marvelled at God’s intricate work. The sunset is a daily occurrence but how different the view is each day. My gaze was captivated by the details changing by the second. The rays through the dark clouds made me think of God’s glory penetrating through the dark moments in our lives. His presence revealed.
We dashed back home to freshen up and change. Minutes later we were back on the beach getting to know the couple we had just met. He was an attractive dude from Bangalore, India. She was from Poland. Believe me I think she was the most stunning woman I have ever met… Beauty, brains, details… she lacked nothing! We sat at a table with a candle lit lamp on the sandy shores enjoying company, food and the white foamy peaks of the waves that got our attention despite the darkness around us.
As if though it got jealous that we were enjoying every other aspect of creation, rain drops entered the scene. The Indian guy looked up at the sky and told us that it was a passing cloud as the stars were out. I didn’t understand what he meant and it seemed as if his partner couldn’t either. Both of us quizzically looked at each other without saying a word. Minutes later another friend of ours walked up to the table and feeling the rain drops, he looked up and remarked likewise. The Polish girl and I just looked at each other and burst into laughter. SO we continued to wait under the rain drops. Sure enough the guys were right – it stopped. The sky was boasting its night exhibition of dazzling stars.
It was a relaxing evening… what more can one ask for? However, suddenly it started to rain cats and dogs. We quickly grabbed all our belongings and ran for the hut. The table closest to the beach entrance was pushed half way into the ‘hall’. A strong cold wind ushered in the rain drops soaking our backs. We started to shiver and the wind decided to show off its power! It was unbelievable that one could be shivering on the coast of tropical Sri Lanka!
The very setting that facilitated the body to relax turned around causing the body to tremble instead. It reminds me of the destructive waves ferociously rising and sweeping over the sandy shores of Sri Lanka back in 2004. Weather, economy, career, finances, health and even relationships with loved ones… they all change. None of these remain permanent in life. We can’t take anything for granted… Life is simply unpredictable!
- What is causing you sorrow today?
Have you lost your job? Are your bills piling up? Has your body begun to protest being consumed by an illness? Have relationships with loved ones (family or friends) become strained or even worse severed?
Nothing is impossible for God. He is a God who can restore anything… He can heal anything in His time… He makes all things beautiful in His time. Sometimes He won’t give back what has been taken away if He thinks that you deserve something better. The ‘better’ could even mean His love, so that you can soak and delight in His love.
God’s love is the only thing that doesn’t change. We love Him because He loved us first… No matter how we err, how we hurt Him… He is always waiting for us with outstretched arms. He is waiting for us to turn back to Him with a repentant heart but without guilt as Jesus Christ has shed the blood on the cross on our behalf. Our security can be established in HIM alone… Everything else should be counted as a blessing that can be given to us or taken away all for a purpose and for our good.
Yet this doesn’t give us the license to shun our responsibilities. We are COMMANDED to love our neighbours as ourselves. Loving doesn’t mean giving in to everyone’s whims and fancies but rather to be sincere in our caring… God’s Word tells us “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (Proverbs 27:5) and instructs us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Loving our neighbours as ourselves means we don’t do anything to others that we don’t appreciate others doing to us. When we love ourselves – as after all we are fearfully and wonderfully made -, we will be able to (with the wisdom of God of course) be as innocent as doves and shrewd as serpents. Isn’t that what Jesus commands His disciples to be like as He is sending us out like sheep among wolves (Matthew 10:16)? We need to also remember the warning Jesus gives to us, “watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
Not everything is what it seems… Like the writer of Ecclesiastes said, “Meaningless, meaningless… Everything is meaningless!” It seems as if things are perfect but nothing is perfect – other than God. We need to test everything… We need to ask God for wisdom to discern the good fruit from the bad.
The key thing is that we pray and follow God’s leading and yield to Him to stay in the centre of His perfect and pleasing will…