According to native Hawaiian culture, it is believed that everything has “mana”, or a spirit- the wind, the sea, and all of its creatures. I used to think that this was a strange belief. But as I sat nestled under a tree overlooking calm waves gently riding towards the shore of a breathtaking Hawaiian bay, I finally understood.
Imagine yourself growing up on an island surrounded by absolute paradise without believing that there was some type of power within it. The stars alone are enough to mystify the wandering soul. But think about the ocean. Yes, the big blue expanse that seems endless. Imagine waking up every day to something so deep, wide and powerful…never knowing how far it goes. The movie Moana certainly exemplified this fascination.
“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
Honestly, I sat in a renewed awe of it myself as I breathed in its presence right at my fingertips. What a beautiful mystery the ocean is. I will admit, I did feel a bit called by it. However, with Moana jokes aside, the Spirit calling was not that of the ocean itself- but its Creator. See, this is the truth I believe about nature: The Spirit works through it to beckon us closer to The One who designed it. There is no greater relationship on this earth than that of a human and their Heavenly Father. Nature in its pure form simply facilitates that connection. So it only makes sense then that as the waves continued to gingerly lap against the rocks, I felt a deep peace set in. And then I suddenly felt The Spirit moving me to write. The words below are straight out of my journal. They aren’t my words though- I know it was The Spirit…the words came down quickly and with not enough thought for them to have possibly come from me. I hope God uses these words to speak to you somehow:
// Here in Hawaii, they say everything has a spirit- the ocean, fish, land, flowers, birds and the breeze. I think they’re right. Everything does have a spirit…that of the Holy Spirit. I think God uses nature to call us to Himself. He beckons us with the sun, and romances us with the moon. The greatest love story, as strange as it may seem to our culture, is that of God and His children. He takes us on adventures greater than we could imagine- ALL to draw us closer to Himself…so that we may see the world and ourselves more as He sees them. Perfectly His. Uniquely broken.
…Broken in a way that can ONLY be fixed in His special way. He knows how to call our hearts unlike any person ever could…because He knows what truly lives within them. The secrets we keep are no secret to Him- so He takes them and keeps them safe. He treasures them. He treasures YOU. The reason that there is no relationship stronger in this world than a human and their Heavenly Father is that He literally knows EVERYTHING about us…every thought or random musing and yet STILL chooses to love us. Unconditionally.
His call isn’t one of force. He is gentle and kind…like these waves in front of me. Yet also like these waves, His love for you is much stronger than it may appear in your mind. Looking at these waves, they look calm and serene…almost weak even. But try jumping in. You’ll not only see differently, you’ll feel it. In fact, the further out you swim, you’ll realize that there’s a whole ocean waiting- full of currents more powerful than you could ever dream of. On the shore, you thought God was only found in the shallows. He starts out where you’re comfortable. Just come as you are.
But as you begin to trust Him…or trust the waves more…you begin to wade further and further beyond the shoreline. Soon you’re neck deep. But you’re not afraid- only sometimes. But that’s when God may pull you back closer to the shore to try again. And that’s ok. No one goes into the ocean and stays in the same spot the whole time. You shift and MOVE WITH it. Waters that are stagnant aren’t going to lead you anywhere past your fear. With God, you’re always MOVING somewhere, namely Heaven. Even if you don’t see it.
Have you ever floated on a raft and didn’t see how far you had gotten till you stopped and looked back? Paddle boarding was like that a few days ago. I kept pushing and gliding, not thinking I was going that fast or truly going anywhere really. Boy was I wrong. I looked back at the shore in AWE at how far I’d come. I think our relationship with God works the same way. We paddle, see some sea turtles that surprise and distract us, then keep rowing in awe of what we just witnessed and keep going…and then look back very shocked at how far we’d made it. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a watery journey that not only physically MOVES us to explore different places, but also spiritually MOVES our hearts to explore new depths of God’s character. //
Ultimately, God truly is the Spirit within everything. Every aspect of nature points to the power and precision of our Heavenly Father. He’s as great and mighty as the raging seas of a hurricane. And yet, He also designs the tiniest and most delicate of details in the universe such as the lovely sweetness of a honeysuckle flower to the tongue on a hot summer day. His Word explains it best though:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)