in the wild

I sat in my truck watching the furious surf, as if seeking revenge; the gray-white sea bled into the gray-white sky. I thought, “Sometimes you have to walk headlong into the wind and rain. Don’t run from it; run into it.” So I got out of my truck and walked down onto the beach, heading north toward Haystack Rock. Within minutes the back of my pants were soaked through as the wind driven rain pelted me behind from the south. I smiled, laughed, kept walking for a few minutes toward the massive boulder just a few hundred feet off the shore, surrounded by smaller rock needles. It felt like a hurricane. And I rejoiced. Seagulls rested on the sand, facing the wind, unbothered and content, even happy. Some dunked and splashed in the streams of water running in channels through saturated sand to the Pacific waves. When I turned around to go back I faced the unforgiving wind and rain head-on. I ducked my head and slanted my body forward. Again I smiled. Laughed a little. Gave a short shout here and there. My pants were completely soaked when I arrived back at my truck. I grabbed some dry clothes and changed in the bathroom. I was wet, but happy; some small rejoicing in the angry elements. No, perhaps not angry, just full of holy glory, showing off to the small figure in a blue rain jacket and wet gray pants on the beach, showering down worship, asking me to worship also. And I did. By stepping out of the damp truck onto the sand; taking a moment to be uncomfortable and find the reward in it.

Worship is more valuable with a little discomfort. Not necessarily the religious kind—shouting and raising hands and dancing around. No, the kind found in the elements. Wet, cold, windy, gray, soaked to the skin, damp to the bone. It’s the discomfort of worshiping in the world, without the protection of a roof and walls; without a crowd or stage or leader at a pulpit or behind a microphone. It’s the kind of worship found only in the wild; in relentless winds and rain by the ocean; on difficult approaches and mountain summits.

When I am unsure how to pray or sing or love God at all, these moments are my worship.

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