By Jaime Sherman
Late last summer, God used the natural world to give me a better understanding of what it means to stand in awe of Him. As waves crashed in front of me and giant sequoias towered behind me on a northern California beach, I experienced great fear mingled with respect.
We had stopped alongside the road to explore the beach with our six littles only to find that it wasn’t a beach for romping delight but of terrifying waves that battered the land, creating deep gullies in the sand. We had to yell in order to hear each other over the roar of the waves, and we grasped our children’s hands to keep them far from the water.
We stood in awe, and while every inkling in our near-trembling bodies said to run for the perceived safety of the car, we paused a bit longer far from the waves. We stooped to pick up the smoothest, flattest stones we’ve ever collected on a beach and noted how the rocks on that beach weren’t given the benefit of a slow, steady polish but instead experienced a short, brutal refining.
This is our story today. Instead of a slow season of refinement through the minor hiccups of life, God is allowing us to be the stones tossed by the raging waters on that terrifying beach. We don’t have a choice about which beach we’ve been placed upon, but we do have a choice whether we keep our eyes on the waves that threaten to destroy us or on the One who by the power of His word gathered those waters up at the creation of the world and put them into place.
As the women’s ministry team at University Fellowship Church, our prayer is that we can encourage you to keep your eyes on the Lord through this season of uncertainty, anxiety, and grief. We have several ways in which we plan to do this in the coming weeks. First, we will be rolling out a daily feature beginning Monday, March 23, that we’ll call Daily Joys. To ensure you receive all the encouragement offered, remember to sign up to “follow” the blog. You’ll receive an email notification each day with a link to find the Daily Joy nugget.
Second, on Sunday, March 29, we will begin a two-week study on the Psalms of Ascents to prepare our hearts for an Easter we have never before experienced. You’ll find a link to this study each morning in our Daily Joy post. All you need is your Bible!
Third, after Easter, we will offer a 10-week study (April 16-June 18) on Jen Wilkin’s book In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character. The book includes 10 chapters with verses for meditation, a few questions to answer and room to write out a prayer. Many of you went through Wilkin’s first book None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us in the fall of 2018 with us and found each chapter of the short book to be incredibly rich and encouraging. For those of you who have yet to read this book, we encourage you to get a copy.
As of right now, booksellers are still able to send Wilkin’s books in the mail, so you have a chance to order yourself a copy. The books are also available for download on all digital platforms for about $10. We encourage you to order or download one today!
The Bible study leadership team is experimenting with communication platforms to take study discussion groups to an online space, so stay tuned. During this time of not meeting together in a building, we’re excited to offer a way for women to connect with one another around what they’re learning about God.
Thinking back to that beach in northern California, I am reminded of the characteristics of God we will study in these books, and I pause once again in awe to remember that we serve a God more powerful than those mighty, crashing waves: a God without limits and beyond comprehension. As Wilkin summarizes at the end of None Like Him:
Just as Psalm 139 extols the attributes of God, so does the whole of Scripture. Read it with new eyes, eyes that hunger for a loftier vision of who he is. It is the awe-laden path of wisdom, surrounded on all sides by the towering redwoods of God’s majesty, leaving us weak-kneed with wonderment, filled with the fear of the Lord. Behold there your Maker, fearful and wonderful. Lift up your eyes. Don’t miss the view.