By Shannon Collins
Well, here we are again at back-to-school time. In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for school and trying on uniforms at the last second, we moms are abruptly reminded how much our children have grown in just two and a half months!
We scamper around and get everybody’s school supplies and new tennis shoes. We go everywhere to pick out those new backpacks and lunchboxes. We realize, oh my goodness, we never stopped to read those summer reading books. Here we are at the last minute trying to finish those books and get those book reports done AGAIN!
Already I feel the stress level mounting, and we have barely reached the starting point! The ease of summer and its lack of pressure are coming to a grinding halt. Today, I want to take off the seat belt, get out of the carpool line, and drift back to summer. I want to take time to reflect on what the Lord has shown me. Where have I seen His hand? What has He spoken to my heart?
In July, our family went on our first cruise. We traveled to Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel. As we cruised along I thought, “Wow! I am so humbled by the vastness of this creation.” Water in every direction for miles! I felt so small. I caught a glimpse of the power of our God as Creator.
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It says the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters, and God spoke saying, “Let there be light,” and there was light. He then made the sky and the dry ground He called “land.” He gathered the waters and called them “seas.”
We have probably read that passage in Genesis dozens or even hundreds of times. That chapter never has come to life in my spirit the way it did this summer when I saw the beauty of the sky, the seas, and the land from that ship! It made me want to worship the Creator, the God who put all that in place with the sound of His voice and the touch of His hand.
Our first stop was Honduras on Mahogany Bay. None of our family had ever snorkeled. As we got our gear, I looked at a lady who had just finished snorkeling, and I saw blood coming from her ankle. I told the guide that I didn’t want my legs to be bloody when I finished snorkeling. He told me that she had gone the wrong way! I said, “Well I am following you!” He said, “I will take you to a special place.”
He helped me understand how to breathe correctly, and I held on to a buoy as he pulled me along. I looked down into the water beneath me and saw a rope lying on the floor of the ocean. I noticed that as he swam, he stayed above that rope and didn’t veer to the right or left. He led me steadily as I marveled at the incredible beauty of what I saw beneath me. There were plants and fish of every color, shape, and size! The coral was breathtaking and like nothing I had ever seen in my entire life.
I was saying in my mind, “This is unbelievable! There is a whole world under here.” I saw fish as tiny as a coin and I saw every color of the rainbow! I worshiped my Creator and the sustainer of that life. Genesis 1:21 says, “So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it…” It was such a joy and a privilege to get to see the beauty of our God’s craftsmanship!
I mentioned that the guide led me out into the ocean following the rope beneath him. The Lord reminded me that His word is our plumb line. It is our path and our guide. He provides it for us so that we know which way to go. Sometimes we say, “I’m tired of going by this. I’m going to do it my way!” or “I will be fine! I’ve got to explore and go in the direction that makes me happy.”
Unfortunately, that is just the moment that we look down and find that we are bleeding. In the same way the coral can gash open our leg in the ocean if we venture off the right path, we can gash open our lives with the decision to go our own way and not follow Christ’s leading and direction.
As I reflect, I am reminded that His communion with us is precious. His presence is priceless. The work of His hands is immense and miraculous. I’m humbled that He wants a relationship with me. Amazed that He wants to speak to me.
I hope that as the feverish pace of school takes off that I will stop like I have today to reflect on or to listen to what God wants to reveal to me. I hope you will too.
Shannon Collins is a counselor at FBC Jackson and lives in Brandon with her husband and three children. She recently wrote a children’s book, If It Were Up To Us, available online at shannoneverhartcollins.com.