Friday, August 2, 2013


After almost a week in the inner city of L.A. I began to wonder, "Is there really an ocean nearby?"

On the first day, we had opportunity to visit the Griffith Observatory and thoughts of seeing that grand stretch of water crossed my mind . . . but there were hills, smog, and city to get through. 

Later in the week we went to Angel's Point, a park at the top of a hill, where we could see the city skyline.  We watched the sun sink below the hills and knew it had to be setting over the ocean, but still, the 'water teeming with life' eluded our sight.

As we drove day after day through a labyrinth of streets, they began to look the same.  I felt caught with no way out.   In my mind I knew there was a vast, immense body of water out there, but it was beyond my grasp, almost like a dream.  Someone could spend their whole life in that city and never see the ocean, never touch it, or even know it was there.

The ocean reminds me of God's love.  He is ready for us to dip into Him, yet so often we scurry about in worries, unbelief, and fears, thinking it is not really for us, or that surely, we must have to earn it. In truth, there is nothing we can do to obtain our salvation.  It is freely offered as a gift. (Rom. 6:23) But now that I've known Jesus as my Savior, sometimes I believe the lie that I must now do the right things in order for God's love to reach me.  Not true.  God loves me no less when I'm disobedient than when I do what is right.  Like the ocean, His love is constant, always ready to receive me.

However, Jesus commands me to "Remain in [Him]".  (John 15:4)  It is something I must actively pursue and continue to maintain.

We did finally make it to the Pacific Ocean.  As I watched the reaction of each student, I was amazed that some only dipped their toes into it.

Others plunged full force into the sea, allowing themselves to be carried on the waves, becoming drenched head to toe.

I have to admit, I was drawn to the drenching.  I had a deep down longing to cast all inhibitions aside and know the power of the ocean in my experience, not just my head. 

God's love remains, for it is not dependent on me, but on Christ who is completely faithful.  Yet, if I am to know it in my experience I must first of all believe, even when I do not feel it or see it.  Secondly, I must obey.  Surely, obedience goes for the drenching, as it surrenders itself to the waves of God's love.  Furthermore, the heart of God pulls me to plunge deeper still in relationship with Him.

I do not want to observe God's love from afar, nor simply dip my toes on the fringe of it.  I want to fully know this love that surpasses all understanding.  (Col. 2:2-3)

Mercy and grace wash over me in waves, but what treasure awaits in the deeper places of obedience and communion with God. 

We all know the saying, 'never turn your back on the ocean'.  When I turn away from God's love, "mercy comes running, like a prisoner set free", pulling at prodigal toes, calling me to draw near.  (Phillips Craig and Dean)  It catches me off guard . . . like the tide rolling in.

And so this rhythm in relationship is established as God also longs to be pursued, much like the playful beckon of the outgoing tide.

Deeper in love with Christ . . . nothing held back, that's where I want to go.  


  1. I love this post... I have such fond memories of visits to the oceans and it is one of my favorite locations. There is something about the ocean that is inspirational, majestic and powerful, yet personal, intimate and peaceful. Your words and pictures portrayed the love of God in all it's splendor. Thanks. Blossom

    1. Agreed, many things in nature draw me to my Creator and the ocean is definitely one of them.