“But Jesus withdrew himself with His disciples to the sea…” Mark 6:7 (KJV)
Summer is a time for family. It is a time to rest removing ourselves from the stresses of work or school and focus on deepening our family relationships. One of the best ways to strengthen the family bond is through family vacations. Families tend to find that one special place to which they can retreat and focus on revitalizing their own bonds.
For our family, it has been the beach. Over the years, we have gone to many different places in the world, yet we seem to always return to the sun, sand, shells, and the ocean. The beach serves as a place where we can completely remove ourselves from the demands of work, school, and even church. It provides an opportunity to build castles, play in the water and walk on the beach. Inevitably those walks lead to searches for shells and sea creatures washed up onto the shore.
When the children were young, the shells offered so many questions: what had lived in the shells, where in the ocean had the shells been, how far had the tides carried them, how long had they been on the beach, and so forth. The one question that seemed to recur was who created the shells followed by the ultimate question…why?
As parents we wanted to provide those answers but had no perfect responses. I wonder what would have happened if instead of replying “I don’t know, we can ask God when we get to Heaven”, we redirected those questions to a discussion of Jesus and the many times he spent along the Sea of Galilee? What if we had taken those opportunities to share the stories of Jesus calling Simon and Andrew from their fishing to serve with Him, calling James and John from mending nets in the ship, being awakened by the disciples to calm the sea, teaching the multitudes by the sea side, healing the sick, or when He withdrew onto the sea for rest?
What wonderful opportunities we as parents, grandparents, and friends have to walk along the beaches beside the seas and oceans and wonder at God’s creations, Jesus’ miracles and teachings, and ultimately the salvation offered to all of us. Next time you and your family (whatever family means to you) take time to remove yourselves to that place of rest, perhaps it is also a time to reflect on what our Heavenly Father has created for us and what His Son has given to us.
© 2012 Elizabeth B. Loveday