Walking on the white sand beach near Destin, Florida this morning, I noticed some seaweed about ten yards from the shoreline. At first I thought it was just a small clump about 20 yards long. But as I looked I realized that it stretched for 500 yards along the beach. The scene took me back many years to a similar day on the beach with my wife and children. My son, who was about 6 at the time, and I had decided that we were going out to the sand bar when we noticed a stretch of dark seaweed between us and the sand bar. We walked the beach trying to find a gap, but there was none. I finally grabbed his hand and said, ‘son, sometimes you have to step right into the dark stuff to get to the other side.’
This morning as I reflected on the memory it hit me that my son, at 6 years old, could not have seen the clear water on the other side of the seaweed. I was taller and had a different perspective. I could see that the seaweed was only three or four yards wide. He could not have seen what I was seeing. I knew that we would make it. He didn’t. He trusted me. But the message to me this morning was not simply about a son’s trust. The message was about the perspective of a father, of our Father.
I have no doubt that our Father feels the fear and pain, and perhaps the guilt of our hearts as we find ourselves in the midst of various forms of seaweed, some of which we have created ourselves, and some of which is real only in our broken imaginations. In Jesus, our Father, and the Holy Spirit have identified themselves with us as we are in our darkness. Yet our darkness is not darkness to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They know us in the light of life, from a higher vantage point. Our Father does not see us as we see ourselves in our seaweed. He sees us from a different perspective. He sees us from the perspective of the gift that he gave to us “in Christ Jesus, before the time of the ages” (2TIM 1:9), and from the perspective of who he has made us in his incarnate, crucified, resurrected, and ascended Son. He knows who we are.
This morning, our Father asked me to rest in his vision of me, to take sides with him against the way I see myself, and against the way that I feel about myself as I do so. I think I heard him say that I was free to live in the seaweed if that is what I wanted. But in that comment I also heard the question, ‘why?’ And somewhere in that moment Jesus reminded me of my favorite verse, “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you” (John 14:20).