Unlike the wild and rugged coast of the Pacific Northwest, Southern California’s beaches are more populated than isolated. This distinction does offer some unique advantages, not the least of which is a shore dotted with wonderful seaside restaurants where great meals are enhanced by warm sun, roaring waves, peals of laughter from kids frolicking in the surf, seagulls squawking on the beach, and pelicans soaring through the sky and diving into the water to retrieve their own dinner.
And the shops! Oh, the shopping extravaganza that is available throughout the coastal communities for those of us with that particular weakness—everything from boutiques to antiques—a shopaholic’s paradise.
On this particularly perfect day my husband and I started with a leisurely brunch on the San Clemente Pier and then strolled through the downtown shops for several hours; finally topping the afternoon off with some great tacos in a wonderful Mexican restaurant.
But later, as I pondered how relaxed we were and how we enjoyed our brief escape from the daily grind, I realized that it couldn’t compare to the wonder of what God has in store for us. As wondrous as His creation is, it cannot compare to that moment when we see Him face to face in all of His glory.
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
The Ben Franklin Five and Dime at the Arcata Plaza was doing a booming business—it was 1958 and hula hoops were a nationwide craze. Kids, myself included, were all over the plaza, whirling and twirling those brand new hoops around our waists and from every appendage.
Fifty-some years later, the Plaza that I remember so well was still there; the surrounding businesses now a more eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, and the Ben Franklin building housing a furniture store. But that was OK because I wasn’t shopping for hula hoops this time—I was browsing bookstores, hoping to find unique-to-the-area publications featuring the redwoods. I did make a few good discoveries, but there wasn’t much that couldn’t be picked up at any local tourist trap. Perhaps these ancient trees are just too big to describe adequately via the written word; only in their presence can their majesty be experienced.
A few days ago, reading through the gospels, I was struck anew by the fact that there’s really not a lot written about Jesus’ life on earth either—just four short books, with many of the events of His life duplicated in two or more places. And yet, in those few pages, lies the greatest biography ever recorded. How can so few words hold so much truth? How can the brief accounts of His teachings convey everything we need to know in order to have a relationship with God? How can each passage be so simple that a little child can understand, yet so complex that every time you read it you may see something new? I think it’s because the words were inspired by the best communicator ever—the Holy Spirit; and He knew exactly what we needed.
The Apostle John said it well as he concluded his account with, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)
The majesty of the redwoods forests is nothing compared to the majesty of Jesus; and only though relationship as we sit in His presence can we even begin to comprehend the fullness of Christ.