I spent some of my growing up years in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. It was a great place to live. Our house was one block from the ocean, three blocks from Jericho Beach, where at the concession stand you could purchase the best fish and chips going. Yes, it was a great place to live, except in the winter. Starting in late November to late February it would rain almost every day for at least a part of the day. You would start to feel a little soggy after a while. However, it sure beat shovelling snow! And on the rare occasion when it did snow, it was an absolute disaster.
During the winter I didn’t need an alarm clock because the fog horns in the harbour would wake me up — their distinctive bellow was hard to miss. That’s another thing about the West Coast, or as a friend who lives on Vancouver Island calls it, the “Wet Coast”. One advantage is one gets used to the rain and with the temperate climate it is better than living in a colder climate — all you needed to do was remember your umbrella. Where I am now living tonight it is minus twenty degrees celsius — bbrrr!
Vancouver has many beautiful beaches, one is Jericho Beach as I already mentioned. Another beach that was close to where we lived was Kitsilano Beach. I liked going there because there was an old steam locomotive on display and kids were free to climb up on it and play on it. I have always loved trains (I just purchased a calendar featuring old trains) and so it was one of my favourite places to play. I don’t know if it is still there or not, the last time I was in Vancouver I didn’t have the opportunity to go and see if it was. I sure would like to climb on it one more time!
There is one thing that I remember that baffles me to this very day. On days when the conditions were right, when walking home from school I could see ships in the harbour which was across the water. But here’s the strange part — it looked as though they were close up, on my side of the water. They looked so close that I could even see the names of the ships and the men working on them. But the closer I got to the water, the further they looked to be away, until I reached my street and they were back where they were all along, in the harbour at anchor.
I know what I saw was a mirage, but why I saw it is something that I haven’t been able to figure out. It was probably some kind of light displacement or reflections on the water or something like that.
But what I saw was an illusion of reality for I was seeing something that wasn’t really there.
We often have illusions of reality about ourselves and the world around us. One of Satan’s favourite tricks is to whisper seductively into our ears that we have no self-worth. Satan particularly likes to attack us when we are feeling down.
Think for example of Elijah after his victory at Mt. Carmel. He had just defeated the 450 prophets of Baal, ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot which was pulled by war horses, and then it rained after a lengthy drought.
Then when Elijah heard that Jezebel was after him, he ran away and hid in a cave. After all the mighty acts that were performed through him in the Name of the Lord, why did he run away? I believe it was because he was mentally, spiritually and emotionally exhausted — he had nothing left to give. But God had not abandoned him. He gave Elijah food to eat and water to drink. And when the Lord came to him while he hid in a cave, the Lord spoke to him — not in wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in a still small voice, a quiet, gentle whisper or as my Bible, the English Standard Version says “the sound of a low whisper”. Through that “low whisper” God reassured Elijah that he was not alone.
Sometimes we are so busy we ignore the gentle whisper of God’s voice telling us that He loves us, to slow down and rest in His love. So the next time you feel alone, afraid, are dealing with low self-esteem and are feeling that you have nothing left to give, remember that God loves you and “will never leave you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5)