When we’d driven just about as far as the blacktop would take us, we found ourselves at what felt like the edge of the world. Surrounded by blue sky and dunes of waving beach grass, the Cape Cod National Seashore stretched before us. The Race Point Lighthouse stood tall as gulls circled overhead, their sharp eyes watching for a chance to swoop in and grab the forgotten remnants of a sandwich.
We grabbed towels and blankets and coolers and shovels and buckets and kids, and began the slow climb up the impressive dunes. We paused at the top to take in the scene that had been hidden from view just moments before. A wide expanse of sand sloped down to the sea. The waves of the Atlantic Ocean looked as if they were in the cooling off period after an argument. Couples strolled hand in hand at water’s edge. Blankets dotted the shore like the patches of a quilt waiting to be sewn together. A family was stacking firewood in anticipation of a sunset celebration.
We trudged through the sand and staked our claim near the lifeguard’s tower. A bright purple flag flew high above a serious-looking young man decked out in whistle and binoculars. The kids dropped their towels, kicked off their shoes, and were racing toward the water when it dawned on me. There was just one thing missing from this iconic beach scene: swimmers. On this beautiful, warm, sunny day, there was not a single soul splashing or throwing a Frisbee or body surfing. No one was in the water.
At that moment, the purple flag on the lifeguard stand began to wave as the breeze picked up. And there, in sharp white contrast on the purple background, leaving no room for misunderstanding, was the outline of a shark. The kids recognized the heightened urgency in my “STOP!” and begrudgingly reversed course. After a quick Google search, we learned the flag meant Great White sharks had been spotted in the area.
As a Florida native, I am no stranger to the beach. But the New England coastline is not like home. The sand feels different, the surf has a bit more urgency, and the rules and guidelines are unfamiliar. This purple flag was new to me. I wasn’t sure what it meant. Thank goodness for Google.
That day on the beach made me think of Psalm 119:19. I like how it’s written in The Message: “I’m a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions.”
I invite you to click through to continue reading what God reminded me that day on the seashore. The full post can be read at The Glorious Table. Please join us in a conversation here: https://theglorioustable.com/2021/02/devotional-his-word-gives-us-clear-directions/