This morning my wife and I were talking while getting ready for work and kids school. It went from talking about shrimp for dinner tonight, to my daughter saying she hated shrimp, to somehow the subject turning to my;
“The ocean would be so much better if there were nothing in it. Well, besides dolphins.”
I just started laughing and told her that was funny. It also got me thinking. The only thing she cared for in the ocean was something sweet. Something innocent. Something helpful. Something playful. Most of all, something graceful. (Maybe even delicious?)
The ocean is a lot like the world we live in. It is full of all kinds of creatures walking around us each day. In our schools, workplaces, supermarkets, and even our neighborhoods. I will even go a step further. Even creatures in our homes and churches. Creatures that are big and small in society. Creatures that are young and old. Creatures that are rich or poor and lonely or surrounded by other creatures. I kind of understand what Camryn was saying. She loves the ocean, the water, the beauty, the beaches, the boats, and the dolphins. She just does not like fish that bite or things that swim around you that you can’t see. (Well, the taste of the seafood really.) The ocean can be scary in some regards, and to her distasteful. At the same time, for many, we love it.
What if the world, our ocean, was just filled with dolphins? At one time it was like that. Adam and Eve had it all. A beautiful place with everything they could ever need or want. One problem though, it still was not enough. They disobeyed God by eating of the fruit that was forbidden. Yes, the great white shark came out of nowhere. Yes, the succulent 2 pound lobster with butter sauce looked unbelievable. Yes, the captain of this world offered it free of charge. It was too much for them to resist. It was way too easy for Satan to attack. “Hook, Line and Sinker,” the expression goes.
Genesis 3:5,6 – “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
I John 2:16 - “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
The vast ocean can seem, at times, way too much to take in. I never felt that more than when I was scuba diving in the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii in the eighth grade. I tried practicing in the pool all day with my air tank, goggles, and flippers. When it was time to go out to see the world underneath the waters that next day, I was terrified. Matter of fact, I swam right back up to the surface, got back into the boat, and said I was not going back in. The captain of the small boat encouraged me it would be fun. He said they would protect me from any sharks if they saw any. Then when done, I would have a story to tell everyone about my dive. So with lots of persuasion, I jumped in and swam with the others for about thirty minutes, taking deep breaths. I’m not going to lie. I was looking around constantly for sharks. I also was looking around at all the pretty fish. One especially caught my eye. It was a pink starfish. Its beauty and innocence made me forget about all the other things that surrounded me in that world. I no longer worried about anything else. I just held the starfish until they said it was time to come up.
For me today, I think about Jesus as that beautiful and innocent starfish. One that I can hold, get lost in, and forget about the worries all around me. John 8:12 - Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Today if you are worried, lost, or fearful of jumping into the Christian life, Jesus understands. He tells us there are dangers. He assures us He is our refuge. The Captain can talk you through it. The fellow divers can share their experiences and awesome stories. Most of all, the starfish will be waiting to be picked up and held. Jump in. Put your goggles on to see what is clearly around you. Take deep breaths. Then swim until your time is up. For God created the ocean not just to look at from a distance, but to enjoy its bounty. Just maybe you will have a story to tell.