Waiting for the sun to sneakily pop its head over the water’s horizon at dawn is one of the highlights of vacation tranquility until…vroom, vroom…that loud, steady noise of the “beach-comber;” those big machines that manicure the sand each dawn. Don’t these town employees know they are wrecking the rite of passage of night and day? It’s quiet because here are few tourists. Many of the locals take the morning-has-broken for granted. Some visitors are too hungover. So, it’s a perfect opportunity to relax, pull out the guitar or some devotional book or even my laptop or…just sit and watch the waves roll in with the sunrise as their backdrop. But the real question is, "Have I thanked these combers for setting me up for a nice day at the beach?"
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: These employees prepare a clean, landscaped beach and most of us never see or thank them. The metaphor-du-jour is that these town workers are analogous to God who did his beach-combing in six days so that it would be ready for us tourists who are only visiting for a short time.
The metaphor-du-jour on the Jersey Shore was that there two guys at sunrise with metal detectors methodically combing the beach and I doubt they were searching to find rings, watches and other valuables to return to the local police. They were opportunists eagerly looking to turn someone’s misfortune into their gain. During our every day, we tend to do the same thing in the spiritual realm by assigning bad things as sin by us or someone else or simply relegating them as ugly circumstances. But the demonic principalities are poised to steal and rob from us. Ignorance or denial won’t keep them away.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: Few saw these men on the beach because it was first thing in the morning. If we’re not careful, we’ll turn a blind eye to the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour… For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
1 Peter 5:8 NKJV, Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
On my sunrise walk along the Jersey Shore beach, I passed a man who looked like he was posing for a meditation or a kurta photo session. He was indeed facing the sun and at his feet was a prayer book. He didn’t blink or turn his head although I strolled right behind him. I respect people and always will. But I wondered, “Can you miss The Son staring at the sun?” Perhaps it will “dawn” on every sincere seeker.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: While God has given us the same clues, we don’t all come to the same conclusion. In all humility, we must search for the most conclusive evidence.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp…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.’…what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Revelation 21:23 NIV, John 8:12 ESV, Romans 1:19,20 NIV
The Jersey Shore sunrise was partially blocked by some stubborn clouds hovering over The Atlantic. I patiently waited for them to clear…or at least I thought I knew the meaning of “patiently.” I finally decided that the the clouds weren’t going away and so I began to check out social media and emails. A few minutes later, I lifted my head out of my phone and was surprised to see the sun sitting on top of the water in an unobstructed manner. I missed the drama of the sunrise! If I had just waited a few minutes more, I would have gotten what I came for: the sun rising from “below” the ocean’s horizon. It’s something worth waiting for.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: We may think we are patiently waiting on God for something. Often, the answer is just around the corner - or, in this case, just below the sea. And to think I missed God’s beautiful reality for social media’s unreality.
While I was leisurely reclining on a boardwalk bench at sunrise in Avon-By-The-Sea, New Jersey, four middle-agers (three men and a woman) of some girth were alternating carrying one another with a fireman’s carry. I thought this must be a local fire company’s workout. I also thought they were crazy because it was already near ninety degrees. I also thought that a three-alarm would probably be even hotter still. These folks looked like they were about to collapse with every run past me. But they literally carried their neighbor in preparation for carrying a stranger. It reminded me of Jesus carrying my burden and sin and shame and then descending into the fires of hell for the ultimate fireman’s carry.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: Just how far am I willing to go for love?