Down Nature's Paths



MY EARLY childhood was spent by the shore of Lake Michigan.

The sound of the waves was in my ear all my waking hours and often in my dreams. Or more exactly, that sound filled wakeful times at night, for I loved to lie awake, especially on moonlight nights, and see and hear the mysterious affairs of wild life in the woods about our little house.

But I did not enjoy the lake; it was too awesome. At night the waves talked too loud, and they did not sound loving and happy. They told one another that they wanted to come up on the land and eat up the people. I trembled at the great voices that spoke through the night silences and wondered when the waves would come.

One day I told my mother what the waves said at night and asked her when they would come. With a light on her face that I remember yet, though I was only six, she told me the waves were never, never coming up on the land to devour people. They could not, she said, for they were our heavenly Father's servants, and He had told them to stay in their place. And He had set a wall between us and the waves. I asked what that wall was. She said, "The sand."

Then she took her Bible and read to me how God gathered the waters together and called them seas (or lakes) and commanded them to remain where He put them. Even though the waves were proud of their strength and tossed themselves against the sand, they always rolled back into the lake and came no farther.

Later I listened to the waves with altered ears. They still talked at night, but their tones were different. They told one another that they were not going up on the land. "Here is the sand," they said. "This is the wall of our home. We obey our Father, and we are happy. We are not lonesome, for there are many of us. We clap our hands, because our Father is good."

Our heavenly Father "shut up the sea with doors, . . . and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." Job 38:8-11. He has "compassed the waters with bounds." Job 26:10. He has "placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it." Jeremiah 5:22.

In the various nights of life since then I have often heard the waves talking, and what they said would have crushed me had not my Father set His wall between my soul and them. In the world's night now, "there is sorrow on the sea, it cannot rest," for "the waters thereof roar and be troubled." Yet I am not afraid, for "God is a very present help in trouble." He is a shield (a wall) to them who trust in Him.