Recently I went on vacation with three of my family and three of my siblings. We went to Prince Edward Island where I have so many memories. A place that holds a dear dear place in my heart. I was all ready to do exactly what I wanted on the trip. Enjoy the beach and being outdoors all day long. God however, had other plans. A storm got stuck over the Canadian Atlantic Provinces and the weather was not very good for being at the beach the whole time that we were there.
At first I was sorely disappointed and frustrated that I went all that way only to be met with "bad weather" the whole time. However, after the first couple of days, I didn't care. I began to realize that I was being extremely selfish and needed to see what God was showing me through the "bad weather". The first thing that I realized was that I needed to relax and enjoy the people I was with just as much as the place. The second thing that I noticed was that what I was considering bad weather, wasn't really bad weather at all. The many many farmers on the island had been praying and longing for rain all summer long. It had been a poor summer up until that point for them as their crops were struggling. So instead of the weather being bad, it really was a gift from the Lord to those in desperate need of some precipitation.
I also realized that even though the weather wasn't exactly how I wanted it to be, it allowed us to see some really cool scenery that wouldn't have looked the way it did if it wasn't overcast and stormy. My wife and sisters were able to take some really amazing photos of the clouds, the water, and the power that they seemed to proclaim. It was if God was telling us that even though we had desired to be at the beach and enjoy the sunshine, instead we needed to see His power and majesty displayed through the storms and weather. It seemed as if we were getting a glimpse into pieces of the conversation that God held with Job. The sheer force of the wind and the way it could bend trees, grass, and flowers with ease made me realize just how little I am and how unimaginably great our God is.
The first night that we arrived on the island, the water was calm, peaceful and very relaxing. It was wonderful to stand on the beach with a gentle breeze blowing and to feel the warmth of the setting sun. However, to see the amazing power that the ocean began to show over the next few days between the current and the waves caused me to become excited. I love seeing the waves crash with such amazingly incredible strength against the cliffs in Cavendish. To know and actually understand that God, the ruler of the universe controls those waves and tells them when to exceed their bounds and when to stay exactly where they are is something that makes me quite giddy. How can we not marvel at who God is when we are struck with such beauty and power combined all together to form one majestic piece of creation?
So, we didn't get to go swimming and be at the beach every day that we were there on P.E.I. Many people would then conclude that all the driving that it took to get there wasn't worth it. That the money spent was thrown away and that the vacation was just not what it was supposed/should have been. However, here is what I contend. If by not having the most perfect weather and everything being exactly as expected it caused me to see God to be more beautiful and more lovely than I had before, does this then not mean that every penny that was spent was well worth it? Does not the nourishment of our soul mean so much more to us than the nourishment of the flesh?
I love that island more than any place on earth. It contains more beauties of God's creation than anyone can even imagine unless you have been there and have seen a sunset set over Covehead Harbor. Or climbed upon the deep dark red cliffs of Cavendish to listen to the pounding of the waves upon the earth and to see the way that the mist dances in the air, spraying all those nearby with droplets of grace and mercy. To watch the small red foxes as they lay on a bench, content with the world, knowing that their creator takes care of them. To see the wild lupine growing with such amazing colors that only an artist could begin to conceive their very existence. To see the bright red dirt that covers everything that it touches with its hue and cannot be gotten rid of, until God provides a downpour to wash away all of the dirt and dust that has accumulated. To smell the thyme growing wild and free, just like the island upon which its roots dig for nutrients. To see the rolling hills and fields, covered with miles and miles of the most amazing potatoes that one could ever eat. Strawberries that grow to be the brightest red you have ever seen, and melt into the sweetest, tastiest, and delicious treat you have ever tasted. To walk the streets of Charlottetown and seeing the amazingly extreme variety of individuals that God has brought to one small city for one reason or another. To see the wind surfers being pulled with an incredible force and speed that causes one to wonder how it does not tear their crafts to pieces. To feel water that warms your soul as you wade out to one of the many sandbars that exist in Anne's Land. To see a Great Blue Heron catching its prey with meticulous design in Stanhope Bay.
To enjoy the extreme beauty of a place like this is to gain a glimpse into the very mind of God. To think about what type of God we serve that has the ability and desire to create something so amazing and wonderful for us to enjoy. Something that displays His glory in a way that no person can fully understand or know without experiencing these beauties for themselves. You can tell someone constantly that a certain food you have discovered is the most amazing thing you have ever tasted. However, until the person you are telling actually tries it themselves, they will never understand and never know what exactly they are missing. This is what the Island of Prince Edward is to me. It rings forth the beauty of a Savior who alone created and sustains. It brings people together and causes them to relax beneath a sky that appears like you could reach out and grab the clouds to ride upon them. It causes you to see new and more beautiful pieces of a God who has unveiled Himself through His creation in such a way that we cannot even begin to fully understand. On this island, even the crows seem to sing a more beautiful song for their Creator. Joyfully flying through the air and cawing out their praise and delight for being alive in order to glorify God.
I know that many, if not most, people will never be able to visit my beloved Prince Edward Island. So I encourage you to seek out and to try to find pieces of creation that speak to you in the same way that this island speaks to me. But for those of you who read this and are able to visit P.E.I., please remember that when you are there that it has not been created for you and your desires, but rather to grow, stretch, mold, and shape you into someone who can see a new and different majesty and part of our Holy God, Creator of all.