Can we rejoice in what is unseen, knowing that the temporal stuff of this life pales in comparison to God’s glory? We’re waiting and hoping for something far better than understanding or what we can behold with our physical eyes. We’re being transformed from one glory to another.
During one of our last summer days at the beach, I sat in my chair on the sand, sipping my coffee and watching the kids play in the water. Our typical sunny morning at the bay was overcast and slightly cooler than normal, but the water was teeming with wildlife. Inches from the kids’ heads, schools of tiny fish were diving out of the water and gliding back in without a splash. The kids couldn’t see them and had no idea what was happening around them, but from my spot on the sand I had a view of each one. It was fascinating.
Watching the fish that morning took me back to the summer I spent in France. Toward the end of my stay, my hosts gave me two options for a cultural experience: spend a day in Paris visiting all the sights or go scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea. It was a tough choice, but I opted for scuba diving. I figured I’d never get another chance for that, and thought surely I would visit Paris. (It’s been seventeen years and I’ve yet to walk her streets). An added bonus to our excursion was the location of our dive spot: near a coral reef, just beyond the famous Chateau d’If, one of the settings of Alexandre Dumas’ book, The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s my all-time favorite classic, and I loved being able to picture the story of Edmond Dantes’ imprisonment, and eventual escape.
Before we left for Marseilles that morning, my scheduled Bible reading was from Psalm 69. Verse thirty four says this: “Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them.” In the margin of my Bible I jotted: “Read this the morning of 7/10/2003, the day we are going scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea. May I think of the creatures that I see as bringing praise to God.” Up to this point in my life, the underwater world was one I had only seen glimpses of in books, on TV, or through a fish tank in an aquarium. But on this particular hot July day, I was going to behold its beauty up close; I couldn’t wait.
As I donned my wetsuit, air tank, mask, and flippers, I became more eager to get into the sparkling blue water and see for myself what was happening beneath me. I was not disappointed. Starfish, bright orange coral, neon yellow fish, electric blue scales, the seawall, seahorses—they were all there. But the most amazing experience was spotting an octopus, inches from my head. My scuba instructor grabbed it and held it right up to my face. I could see every tentacle, every little suction cup like saucer, and its dark beady eyes. Being so close to these creatures made this underwater world come alive. My experience didn’t determine its existence, but witnessing the underwater world in this way forever transformed the way I experience the ocean and all that I can see above the water.