Regular readers will know I love living near the sea. Ever-changing light, weather and waves fascinate me and provide camera fodder in generous measure.
The other morning I went down to the beach at Aldwick after a night of blustery weather. Endless ranks of waves were coming ashore, and as the crests broke the wind was just strong enough to whip the tops into spray.
A simple thought occurred to me. Nothing could turn back the waves: as every one threw itself against the shingle and rushed into its end, the next surge was following on. The stones and sand swallowed water and pushed back- each defeated wave drained slowly into the maelstrom, and added its weight to the incoming surge.
How like the endless mercy of God! A vast, measureless reservoir of grace flinging itself on to the hard stone of the shoreline. We cannot turn back the tide- it moves to a deeper rhythm and responds to the ceaseless wild wind. However hard our life, our circumstances, the mercy of God keeps pouring over our heads and hearts: we cannot control His love, but we can respond to it even in the storms.
There is a verse in Luke’s Gospel that I have never really noticed before today: a paraphrase of Luke 1:50 reads like this- “His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.” It comes in the middle of Mary’s great song of exultant praise as she and Elizabeth rejoice in the children they will bear through God’s choice and miraculous action. These women face life changes of a huge scale, but can see the favour of God on them and towards the struggling world.
We cannot exhaust the mercy and grace of God. His love is more vast than any ocean. Think on that, and be at peace! Imagine yourself at the edge of the sea of compassion…