Oceans and Wildfires

“Mommy, mommy!” a little girl shouted from across the aisle.  “Look mommy! The ocean! A speedboat! Look how big and still and blue it is…” and her voice trailed off in wonder.

Our plane was ascending rapidly, engines blazing out of LAX to avoid the smoke from the ever-growing wildfires.  I quickly slid my window shade up in hope of seeing the beautiful sight this little girl described to her mom.  I didn’t.  All I saw was smoke billowing up in the distance – the Creek Fire.  The skyline was covered in a dark gray blur as the sun beat down on the ground beneath us.

Same plane.  Two very different views.

I haven’t written in a while.  Our family has been going through a challenging and stressful season.  It has served to shake away some of the fluff and false-comforts we’ve been holding onto and strip us down to the bare necessities.

I’ve been taken aback by how easy it is to ride my emotions each day.  Some days I only allow myself to see the obstacles.  Those are the hard ones – gray, blurry, and overwhelming.  Other days I choose to see God as greater than any of it.  My problems shrink and He is put in His proper place.  Those are the good ones – clear, still, and beautiful.

One life.  Two very different perspectives.

I feel just like that plane I was riding on recently.  I can veer left or right, up or down – I have free will to do so.  Which way I steer will most certainly affect my view and conditions.

The fires of this life will continue to burn a dark gray smoke – the sight and stench of which will always try to steal our gaze.  Yet, there is hope and peace in knowing that our Ocean is there to quench, refresh, and calm us at any moment.  All we need to do is turn our eyes in His direction.

This Christmas season, I thank God for the richness and refreshment of His deep, vast waters.  I thank Him for His waves of love and faithfulness that are always ready to wash over us.  And I thank Him for sending Jesus to us so that we can find victory – especially amidst the ashes.


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