It was a beautiful morning. We were up early to set off on another excursion from the ship, as the sun was rising over the rugged landscape. But I was only seeing the others off on their visit to Careening Bay.
I’d come away knowing that I may not be able to do some, or many of the things that others would be doing and I had been telling myself that I was OK with that. I would be grateful for the things I was able to do and accepting of my limitations.
Surely just being in this beautiful part of our country was enough to remind me to be thankful.
Creation seems so awesome, so big, as you gaze at the wide horizons, the rugged cliffs, the hidden sandy - or rocky beaches, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets and even watching the moon set over the water in an orange glow.
It’s beautiful – all of it – and I’m so thankful we have such a great God, a creator who planned such beauty and diversity, who holds it together and lets us be a part of it.
As I sat in the lounge that morning, I tried to keep reminding myself of all I was still doing and seeing – even if I didn’t get to go with the others:
- I was doing this trip - something I’d thought I’d never be able to do.
- I was seeing beauty everywhere, even if not managing to do all I’d hoped to do.
- I’d met new people and shared times of fellowship with them – it was great to be sharing this trip with a Christian tour group.
- Thinking back over all that had happened to me the last few months, it was amazing I’d even got here.
- I was warm, missing the cold weather at home for a couple of weeks.
- There were people praying for me, some here and others elsewhere.
- God was in control. He knew what I was thinking and feeling. He understood my disappointment, my fear and my pain.
In the devotions we’d been sharing on board, we’d talked about what kind of reflection our lives are to others.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
I wondered if all anyone was seeing was my grumbling and complaining?
Much as I wanted to be the person who was making the best of things, grateful for what I could do and experience – today, I wasn’t so sure. It was hard to be left behind, to spend so much time alone, mostly stuck in my cabin where I couldn’t even see the scenery going by.
So much I could do last year, is not possible now. I’m fearful at times, of what lies ahead and struggling to be hopeful about a future that will probably only become more difficult. In the midst of these thoughts, I knew that God would be teaching me in, and through this experience. They were lessons I really didn’t want to hear, or accept that morning.
“Self pity is a shiny, bottomless pit. Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire. Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of My Presence shining down on you – those rays of hope can reach you at any depth.” from Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” (July 16)
My pity party seemed to pass as others returned and I wasn’t alone thinking about all I was unable to do.
Later that day, I was able to get out with the others for a while even if not able to do some things they were doing. It was a beautiful trip up the Prince Regent River - one of the mighty Rivers in the Kimberley. The latter part of our expedition took us to a beautiful cascading waterfall, where we sat admiring it for some time – one of my favourite things to do!
We were told about how in 1821, Philip Parker King returned to name many of the places in this area and as he considered “there was every appearance of this proving a considerable stream”…. he sent his long boat up the River to look for water. The crew came upon these wondrous cascades and filled their kegs with priceless water. Considering all that was still unknown about this remote area he was endeavouring to chart, that was a huge necessity and great find for them.
Just as King Cascades had been a life-saving excursion for those men so long ago – it was a blessing for me and that life-giving fresh water flowing over the rocks, refreshed my soul on a difficult day.
God’s so good to us in reminding us He’s there, in experiences like this!
Over the next days, I would be able to do some things, though many were beyond me. I think I remained thankful more times than not, but it was still hard to wave others off to do things I’d really thought I might be able to do – now recognising I couldn’t.
God protected me from what could have been much worse injuries in a couple of accidents I had on board. I had the opportunity to sit with others who were needing to rest or recover from injury themselves, or just those others who like me, were not physically able to do some things.
I laughed with some people when I shared about my lack of thankfulness – which somehow made me feel a bit better. God knows I’m not perfect – far from it – but I’m sure He understands the frustrations I’m feeling as life shrinks that bit more. That led to some interesting and meaningful conversations – times of sharing about faith and hope, even joy.
I was blessed by some understanding and loving care from some I shared with – and I hope that some reflections of His love and power in my life, were evident to others.
This passage from Ephesians 5 in the JB Phillips translation, is headed :You know the truth – let your life show it!” It reads:
“Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague, but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of the Lord. ….let the Spirit stimulate your souls. Express your joy … making music in your hearts for the ears of the Lord! Thank God at all times for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:15-21)
Looking back now, these thoughts bring to mind, a song I love by Steve Green – “In Brokenness You Shine”. The beautiful words of this song, remind me that God knows all that I’m going through at any time. He calls me to believe and keep on trusting Him, one more time.
Even though it’s not always true that I am reflecting God’s light and love in my own life in the way God may want me to be – it is always true that God shines through our brokenness. What an opportunity that gives us!