Up Close and Personal

I recently went to the west coast for a vacation. I visited family who are living in Carmel by the Sea. It was magnificent. The beauty was simply stunning. The sand was soft and white under my feet. The breeze was cool even with the sun shining warm on our shoulders. I’ve never seen water that color before. It was deep blue in some places and bright blue in others. My favorite color was at sunset when the sun would shine thru the crystal clear waves lighting each wave a pale blue just a second before it crashed. Each wave was perfect and unique. I could have sat there for hours mesmerized by the beauty.

But we had exploring to do. We walked toward the famed Pebble Beach golf course and played on the beach below it. We climbed on rocks, found caves, discovered springs, played with dogs, visited with their owners and chased sea gulls. To be surrounded by so much beauty, enveloped by it really, was almost surreal. I’ll treasure every moment for the rest of my life.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend about it. He said he had also driven Highway 1 on the west coast and appreciated its stunning views. I shared that I had done that on past vacations but that this trip was different for me. It was interactive. I told my friend that I’m so glad I got down by the water and climbed around on those rocks. I said that’s where you will find the tide pools filled with crabs, purple sea urchins and turquoise anemones. (We saw big crabs the size of my hand, small crabs the size of my thumbnail and hermit crabs scampering about with their houses on their backs.) You gotta get up close and personal to get the full effect, I told him.

Yesterday as I reflected on it all I saw the parallel. Just like the ocean, we can embrace God from a distance or get up close and personal. We can stand on a magnificent rock cliff high above the ocean and view it from a distance with awe and wonder or we can go down to the shore and discover the tide pools. Both are appropriate of course, but now I recommend the more interactive experience. Just like finding a beautiful tide pool hidden in the rocks of the Pacific, what hidden treasure might God have for you? What new experience with God might you find and come to value?

Coming to The Great Southwest Prayer Center could be like climbing around on a magnificent ocean beach. Its one way, among many, that you are welcome to come and interact with God. Come sit. Come journal. Come sing. Come cry if you need to. Ask God what he has for you today and then be still and listen. We have both live worship & prayer sets and contemplative music. Choose what works for you. Come for 10 minutes or stay for hours. Bring your laptop, write that report or pray over the requests on the wall maps.

To take our ocean metaphor one step further, exploring takes effort. On the rocks I sometimes had to jump from one to another. Doing something new in God can be a leap of faith. As I climbed on the coast sometimes I had to use my hands to pull myself up. In the place of prayer we sometimes have to push thru distraction. Once or twice while exploring the rocky beaches my foot slipped a little. Likewise we can all relate to starting a new initiative (of any kind) and slipping back into old ways. It’s all just part of the process. Its part of life.

Don’t let a setback stop you. There is more to be found. Dig around in the sand. Build a fire on the beach at sunset and feel the breeze on your face and the heat from the fire while you enjoy the view. There is more to be discovered. More to experience. More to enjoy. Come, all are welcome.

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

Find current hours and a schedule of live worship sets at our website www.thegreatsouthwestprayercenter.org.

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