We just returned from our favorite spot on Earth-the Pacific Coast of Southern California. Each year my wife and I make a point of vacationing and beach hopping from Huntington Beach to Newport to Laguna to Dana Point. When it comes time to plan our trip we weigh and consider our vacation options and always choose to go back to what we love most. If Heaven is no better than our beaches, we will be most content with our reward!
The waves in Huntington Beach are particularly powerful. It is called Surf City for good reason; the US Open of Surfing is held there each year because the area produces some of the best scoring waves for competitive surfing. It is not unusual for my 6’4″ 200+ pound frame to be standing in two feet of surf and be taken down by a powerful wave that seemingly developed from nowhere. The best total body workout I could come up with would be to stand or walk against the power of these small waves as they pound the shoreline. After my first day back on the beach I could barely walk that evening.
People visit the beach for various reasons and each one takes away something different from their experience. For me, I feel close to God when I see the force of these waves and hear the thunder of their voices as they break on the beach. But this year I took something a little different away from my visit. I was impressed with the concept of meekness. One may have a hard time understanding the meekness of a wave that can knock a 300 pounder off their feet, but that is because we have a misconception sometimes of that word. Meekness is often defined or understood as being lowly, humble, subservient or gentle in spirit-all attributes perhaps. But a better understanding of this term is to control or restrain one’s own power or strength. When I see how the waves that have historically capsized ocean liners and large sailing vessels lay themselves down under restraint and submission as they reach the shorelines comprised of tiny insignificant grains of sand and curtail their strength as they reach the toes of a toddler enjoying their first beach experience, I see for myself the full living definition of meekness and I am in awe!
All of us have a spirit of pride within us that is not always healthy and which constantly wages war against our spirit. Social media has made all of us experts on everything and we constantly look for ways to prove our debate skills and intellect on matters that, well, don’t really matter. I write this blog each week with the sincere desire of speaking words that offer advice and give glory to Christ, but I often find myself checking to see how many likes or shares it gets or how many different countries it reaches with each new post-a result of a prideful spirit, and certainly not the essence of meekness. In Matthew 5 Jesus speaks to those assembled to hear Him and tells them “Blessed are the meek For they will inherit the earth”. Other versions say Blessed are the humbled or those content with who they are, no more and no less. These aren’t hapless individuals who are the walking mats of society He is referring to. On the contrary, these are those who get slapped in the face and can stand tall like a grizzly, flex their muscles but take another blow. Jesus showed all of us who pay attention what meekness looks like when they came to arrest Him and when asked if He was Jesus, his response of “I AM” knocked everyone off of their feet-just the words from his mouth-restrained power-submissive strength-displayed superiority, meekness defined.
The author of Philippians describes meekness by citing the example of Christ for us:
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord-MEEKNESS!!!
This is how I want to live my life. I want to be a meek gentle giant, strong enough to defend, meek enough to submit and wise enough to know my strength comes from God who has much larger muscles to flex than I do. Yes, that’s what I received from my visit this year to the beach-that and a nice Summer tan.