Just got back from a restful week at the beach. I love the ocean, it captivates the imagination – sometimes with fear of the unknown and other times with the excitement of potential.
The ocean is expansive – inconceivable to our mind in the scope of its depth and width.
It is powerful, the waves never rest, continually shaping the shore and moving things according to the will of its currents.
And as people settle in at the shore, there seems to be two common reactions to confrontation with the ocean – in both children and adults.
Some dig holes to catch the ocean water. Attempting to create a manageable portion of the ocean. Small enough to be controlled and manipulated as needed.
Others build walls to deflect the ocean water. Working as hard as possible to simply keep the ocean out.
All in an effort to protect the castle.
And as I was watching the waves continuously beat against the shore and listening to the unrelenting roar, it occurred to me that we approach God in a very similar way.
As God approaches us through His creation, through His Son, and through his Church, one response is to attempt to create a box for him like a hole at the beach.
We want a God we can contain. One we can understand and who thinks like we do.
A God that we are comfortable with, not expecting much of us and definitely not a God with whom we have to comply.
A God that we can manipulate. Who will serve our purposes and not get in the way. One who we can turn to when we need, but does not disrupt when we don’t.
Or, we build a wall. Block Him out. Live on our terms. Ignore the reality of His power that is all around us.
In either case, the castle we build is an identity based on something of this world. Answering the questions of identity – developing our sense of wholeness – apart from the Creator.
Yet, at the beach, the ocean always wins. Yesterday’s castles become today’s flat beach. The sand always conforms to the will of the water.
And the same is true of our lives.
Because we define God in terms with which we are comfortable or simply turn our back and ignore His presence, the truth is not changed.
God is there. And He is relentless. And He will knock your castle down.
We can experience this either as the exhausting slavery of building a self apart from Him or joy filled surrender of our self .
One leads to death.
The other leads to fullness of life.
Which is your tendency – hole digger or wall builder?