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February 17, 2017

Last summer a good friend invited Kathy and I down to Emerald Isle to enjoy a stay at the beach.  The house was located on the beach with its own boardwalk out to a gazebo with stairs down to a path to beach; for this old sailor and former surf bum, it was close to heaven.  The next few days were filled with laughter and fun with Tom and Bernadene as we lazed time away enjoying the beach and just relaxing with good friends.

As our time to leave approached it seemed that I needed some alone time to just enjoy the sound and smell of the surf.  I awakened at 4:00 AM and got dressed (well, as dressed as any sensible person does at the beach), went downstairs to make coffee, then went out to the gazebo to sit.  It was pitch dark, some lights scattered up and down the beach from the different houses, but looking out over the ocean was without any light source.  While I could hear the waves and occasionally glimpse the froth of the surf, it was as if I was within a warm, salty cocoon. 

As I sat there I began to think of the way that God had moved in my life to bring me to this moment.  Over and over the idea of a God who made all of what I was sensing, whose hand held the universe, but whose attention was focused so singularly upon me when I was so adamant at remaining rebellious that only grace could begin to explain what had happened in my life leading up to that moment.  An overwhelming feeling of gratitude and awe that after all that I had done and all that I’d been through, God loved me!


I began to sing some of the hymns I’d learned through listening to the Bible Broadcasting Network while in prison.  One hymn led to another as my eyes filled with tears and my heart overflowed with gratitude and praise.  I’m not sure how long this went on, but as the sun began to provide a glimmer of light on the horizon, my singing stopped and I sat and just reveled in the knowledge that I was not only free of the physical prison that had constrained me, but of the more insidious prison of my own making.  The freedom I obtained on release from prison was something that I had anticipated (and at times wondered if it would ever be mine), but even better was the sure knowledge that because of Christ’s work on my behalf, even while still incarcerated, I was more free than most of those outside of the walls that held me.  No more was I a slave to the old man and to experience that with my physical freedom (especially once I had satisfied the parole requirements that went with my release) was something I hope I never forget or take for granted.

As the sun showed itself, my wife and friends came out and we all sat and just enjoyed another day at the beach.  My wife kept asking me why I was smiling so much; I would just shrug.  The memory of that time still fills me with wonder and does not fail to bring a smile to my face.


From → Faith, grace

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