By Contributing Writer Ami
The rhythmic crashing of waves upon the shore, a landscape dominated by water and sky, and the sun’s penetrating warmth: all are reasons I adore the ocean. The horizon stretches endlessly, intersecting with the very curve of the earth. How naturally worship comes! What a powerful, majestic, God I have! He is grace. He is mercy. These are not unusual thoughts when I dwell on the depth and plenitude of the sea.
Of all the wonders of the beach, I suppose I don’t often gaze at sand, however.
It was a windy day, the precursor to rain and storms. I lay on the beach towel, soaking in the rays, yet aware of the more than average wind. Sighing, I closed my book, and propped my chin on folded arms. From my vantage point, I had an up close and personal, lavish view of nothing more than sand.
Alone with my thoughts, I contemplated “the long dreaded day.” Two years, eight months, and three days I was married to Jonathan Atkins. Two years, eight months, and three days had he been gone.
As always on significant days, my thoughts swirled with the supposed implications.
I’m facing a day most widows never experience. So many get to be with their husbands for decades.
Does it mean he was just a minor character in the story of my life?
Does it mean our marriage is invalid because it was short?
Does it mean he no longer influences me and others?
I have feared fading memories, and have sometimes shied away from the words “new chapter.”
Sand whirled, reacting to the force of the wind. My face inches above the beach, I gazed at an indiscernible pattern, noticing individual grains whisked along by something outside itself.
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” (Psalm 139)
If I tried to count the grains of sand in the square foot in front of me, it wouldn’t take long to realize the futility of my endeavor. How ridiculously more impossible to number all the grains of sand on every beach and under every ocean!
But this is the best I can do to rightly imagine the number of God’s thoughts toward his own. I cannot fathom their exhaustive nature. How truly precious!
“How could such a great and glorious God care so deeply, so intimately, for little creatures such as we are? This is exactly what astonishes David. God is so great, yet He shows extraordinary care for His own. “ (Commentary, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible)
His thoughts about me are vast.
He deals with me in more unique and intimate ways than any human ever could. By God I am thoroughly known and thoroughly loved.
“When I awake I am still with you.”
“In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them.”
I contemplated the true implications. Jon being gone longer than we were married doesn’t change anything. He still has lasting influence. He’s still a major character.
New chapters are good things. For without them, there would be no forward plot, no grand themes, no riveting climax.
Before I was born God established the course of my life, a sub plot in His epic redemptive tale. He was sovereign over the length of days I had with Jon. He orchestrated our meeting, and His timing was perfect. To wish for more time, is at its root to doubt God’s character. It is to doubt the vast, detailed, and thoroughly perfect nature of His plans.
I closed my eyes, breathed in the salty air, and rested in the beauty of being loved and being known. On a day I long dreaded, I realized I had nothing to fear.