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Seaside Retreat
by
Fred Buchwitz

Who would have thought that sitting in a dentist’s chair would have been where God decided to speak clearly (though I am certain that many have called out to God from a dentist’s chair)?

I have sat in that chair, facing that painting for probably over twenty years. I have admired it while taking my seat in front of it (or was it in front of me?). I have yearned to be there, standing on that pathway bridge, taking in the waves crashing on shore, the eagle soaring out over the water, the light streaming down from beyond the clouds.

This day, as I walked into the room, I was only able to see one facet of the painting and I was in it.

Right there, standing on the smaller rock. On this rock, in the foreground, the waves crashing onto it and my feet. I could feel the icy cold of the water on my feet, ankles and lower legs. I could feel the cool air on my face. My back to the beach, I could see only the waves, the threat, as fear gripped me.

As I took my seat, chatted the same introductory conversation about work, children and the news of the day that we have had every six months for over twenty years, my mind’s attention was still in front of me. Finally, as our conversation was silenced by the work that needed to be accomplished, I could focus completely on my perilous situation, as the breakers crashed at my feet.

“you are not hopeless”

The words of a song I’d heard while driving to my appointment.

“I hear your SOS, your SOS”

More lyrics. Chill ran through me as the waves hit at me.

“you’re not defenseless”

As I sat there in the chair, my eyes continued to be focused on the painting … the painting that I had been somehow been transported into. Though I could no longer see the physical scene, for my position was now mostly fixed to the ceiling … to a place above and beyond my physical self. Now my inner gaze also drifted higher.

“I hear you whisper undernearth your breath
I hear you whisper you have nothing left”

In an instant my mind’s eye lifted from the waves, to the eagle, soaring effortlessly on the air thermals. To the light streaming down, those crepuscular sunbeams (sometimes called the “fingers of God”). The fear eliminated, dissolved.

“In the middle of the hardest fight, it’s true,
I will rescue you”

I was now standing above the water, on the other side of the cabin, facing the light pouring down from the clouds. I have no idea what the other side of the cabin looked like, for my back was to it, my face focused on the light.

The description of this painting, by Fred Buchwitz, writes:

“The morning sun bursts through the clouds, casting its warm glow in this remote
bay on the northwest coast. The crest of each wave is illuminated by the golden
rays of the sun. The crashing rhythm of the ocean and the cries of the gulls
provide the musical backdrop for this enchanted vista.”

“The crest of each wave is illuminated by the golden rays of the sun” … for me, that day, the threatening waves were illuminated by the reminder

that I,

that we,

have a rescuer,

a Saviour,

who will reach down and fight for us.

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I have a great dad. He has been the best reflection of God the father that I could imagine, that I could need. Perfect? no, but perfect for me (one might think that was in the plans all along).

Recently hubby and I have been plowing through a show on Netflix called The Blacklist. We (and by ‘we’ I can at least confidently say ‘I’) are fully addicted. It is a violent crime drama that can leave one with might terrors. To give you a synopsis, without spoiling it, it is the story of an undercover FBI agency who, seek out the world’s most wanted, with the help of one who was the most wanted on the FBI list, himself (Red). He only works with one, brand new, inexperienced FBI agent (Lizzy). The parallel story to the crime fighting and criminal hunting is this relationship between Red and Lizzy and the mystery of Red’s need to be in her life. There is a hint to a parental connection, but …

Recently, as I was writing, the lyrics of a song were penetrating my concentration until I just had to stop writing and see those lyrics. To see them is to acknowledge that they are as we think we hear them, to acknowledge the truth of them. As I listened to the song Rescue (below) I had initially thought it is a song that should be used in an episode or season of the The Blacklist, for it’s message of one who, like a bodyguard, looks after those who they take full responsibility for.

Then …

I thought of our Father God, who does not slumber, but is always overseeing us, protecting us, rescuing us. We don’t even need to yell for help … just a whisper of SOS will bring his army to rescue us … even in the darkest night, the hardest fight.

CS Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity has said,

“His (God’s) love for us … is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.”

It is daunting to think that God is willing to wait for our SOS. For some, we come quietly to him, for others there is much kicking and screaming before we exhale in forfeit, maybe not even truly believing that rescue will come.

The idea that our Creator and Savior loves us throughout our lives, no matter the choices we make, the thoughts we think, the behaviors that we inflict on those around us … on ourselves is far beyond our human understanding. Add to that the fact that he took it to the point of the greatest self sacrifice … the sacrifice of his own child. That is God’s definition of Father love.

His pursuit of us is lifelong … that is the heart of our heavenly father. But he is a gentleman … and he will not force his ability and desire to rescue us, on us. We have to choose it.

Rescue – Lauren Daigle

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