Another jog on the beach
As you know, I typically send out a little Shabbat encouragement on Thursday evenings. This week was exceptionally busy, so that didn’t happen. Today, however, I finally had time for my jog time with HaShem, but instead of listening to my usual Messianic Jewish music soundtrack, I listened to one of Rabbi Nathan’s Maturing in Messiah YouTube classes.
The message was so compelling. In so few words, he summarized one of the most enigmatic concepts of our faith, the relationship of Yeshua to the Holy Spirit (the Ruach), and to the Father, our Abba. He unpacked through his presentation this simple, yet profoundly deep statement that summarizes the relationship: “We draw near to God, the Father, through Yeshua, the Son, in the midst of the Ruach Elohim, God’s spirit.”
Following is a Shabbat encouragement I sent at this time last year that is steeped in examples of the intimacy of God. It is through Yeshua that we have the ability to feel the closeness of HaShem, how He meets us where we are, how He wraps us in the beauty of this created world in a spiritual experience that draws us ever nearer to Him and He ever nearer to us. It is through Yeshua that when we seek, and therefore see God’s Presence in our lives, that we experience intimacy with our Abba in the midst of the Ruach Elohim.
Here is that Shabbat encouragement:
Perhaps nowhere other than in the sanctuary do I feel closer to HaShem than when I am near the ocean. My gaze is unending every day in Maine when I awake and look out the window at the ocean. I can do this for hours on end, praying, meditating, writing, expressing gratitude. Today we’re in Florida and will be here for the next several months. My first jog on the beach this year brought forth waves of thoughts, literally, as I watched His glorious artistry at work beneath my feet.
For those who have noticed when walking along the ocean’s shore, the waves are limitless, an infinite, always changing array of sizes, some more forceful, some more delicate, occasionally surprisingly far reaching to catch toes, or legs(!) unexpectedly. No matter how seemingly disorganized on the sand, these sea greetings still are beautifully rhythmic in their variations, opening our view to their source in the distance normally looking peaceful and calm. When I first arrive, the water feels cold, but after a few more delightful encounters with the laps at the shore which cannot be precisely predicted, the splashes are refreshing, fun, delightful. They make me smile.
In the distance I can see some clouds that could threaten rain. I have choices of whether to stay longer or guess the direction the rain might come. I feel the headwind and plan accordingly whether to run first into or away from it. I like to run into the wind at the beginning when I’m not as tired and enjoy the push on the way back, a choice given to me.
As all of those thoughts playfully brought me into intimacy with our Creator, aided of course by my favorite Messianic Jewish soundtrack playing in my headphones, they began to focus me on the point perhaps I was to take away from this gleeful experience.
Just as each group of waves is different with varying force and length, so, too are HaShem’s attempts to reach each of us. Some of us like to get wet and are bravely playing in the wave area and beyond! Some like me just like to get their feet wet. Some are caught by surprise and need to be carefully introduced to the water. There is a wave pattern for everyone, for He meets each of us where we are, the waves beckoning us to be touched even if by just a splash, beckoning us to cast our eyes to the much deeper mystery that lies far to sea as He allows us only a glimpse of His greater presence. Yet the ocean’s vista is expansive with no visible beginning and end.
In life when we see danger, or challenge, just as the rain clouds in the distance, we may change our plans, face a risk or seek safety. As the headwinds decide my direction, so too, we make our decisions in life when faced with obstacles, or ways to make our journey less stressful. Not always a choice, for sometimes just as the winds can suddenly change direction, so too, life brings its surprises.
Our Abba meets us where we are on these beautiful summer-like days (if you’re in Florida) as we can palpably experience His created world. He brings this beauty to us not just in its awe inspiring grandeur, but through Yeshua we feel our intimacy with His creations, all as one sensation of connectedness with HaShem. Yet He also is there for us in exactly this same way, perhaps moreso, when we walk the beach in despair, or when the harsh cold has taken away our electricity, or as we experience blinding blizzard winds, again, perhaps moreso. Through all of our life experiences, the days of joy as well as the days of hardship, we sense His presence, for such beauty is beyond our comprehension, as are the enormous challenges. At these times we transcendentally experience a presence far beyond ourselves before which we are humbled in awe, as we take comfort knowing these connections are infinite. His presence is always with us, access to Him everpresent.
I am always fascinated by the plovers that typically move in unison toward each wave as it goes out, pecking in the sand during the wave’s absence, and running together in perfectly orchestrated choreography rushing back to shore before the waves return to cover up the area they have just perused. It’s a magical sight to watch. So today I saw just one plover doing the in and out dance when a wave surprised it and the poor plover literally got rolled by the wave!! I had actually never seen that happen in Maine or Florida after so many times of watching this interaction of the birds and sea, since they are typically in harmony with each other in this dance of life and interdependence.
As I continued my jog, happily as the wave receded and the bird rolling ended, the little fella got back up on his spindly legs to continue the ballet, presumably all the wiser as he scurried to joined his fellow bug or crab seekers. So too, we are so much stronger in community, not only physically, but also in learning from the wisdom of others.
As clarity came, the message of how our Abba from His place of deep mystery has made Himself reachable just as the individual waves meet each of us, whether in our places of choice, comfort, seeking, or fleeing from Him, these words from Joshua Aaron’s “None Like You” played on my earphones:
“How majestic is Your Name,
There is none like You,
There is none like You,
Together we proclaim
The power of your Name.
There is none like You.
. . .
Mi Chamocha, Adonai.”