In my explorations yesterday I followed a little walking path that pops up randomly along Beach Avenue. The sign next to it says No Beach Access, which left me wondering where it could possibly go. (It seems around here, sooner or later, you always end up at the beach.) But the path went here:
A lovely little spot. The strange thing though was that directly behind me as I took this picture were two houses. And one house’s front yard connected right into this area. So I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t have a lovely sit down on someone’s private bench in their yard.
…fetching sticks at the beach
…naps in the sunny spot by the window.
Now, lest you think life on the Coast is all sunny days at the beach and walking dogs in beautiful parks, I thought I’d share two negatives about living here. The first is that our grocery bill has definitely gone up. Food is more expensive here than it is in Chilliwack. (Sadly, so is gas.) That does make sense since Chilliwack is farm country and a lot of food is grown right there whereas on the Sunshine Coast you have to ship it over on a ferry. The odd thing though is that it seems much easier to get local, B.C. produce here on the coast than it was in Chilliwack. Now that may be because we were never in Chilliwack during the prime produce season but it always surprised me that grocery stores there never seemed to carry local produce.
The other downfall of the coast is in a statistic I recently read. Only 7% of the population on the Sunshine Coast is in their 20s. This is a community of young families and retirees, not quite the stage of life that Peter and I are in. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing either. We may simply have to broaden our friendship horizons.
In other news, last week a special anniversary of mine passed. Ten years ago, in July 2002, I had an encounter that changed my life and set me in a new direction. Although I grew up in a Christian home and went to a Christian school for several years, it was in a dorm room in Wuhan, China, at the age of sixteen that I first knew, without a doubt, that God is real and that He loves me.
That was a foundational moment in my life. I heard a sermon once that refers to those moments as “Ezekiel moments”, based on Ezekiel’s encounter with God in Ezekial 1.
And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” And as He spoke to me the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard Him speaking to me. (Ezekiel 1:1-2)
Ezekiel’s experience was dramatic, a vision of strange creatures, and from there he was sent out to the incredibly difficult task of being a prophet to the nation of Israel. His life would be hard but he would stick to the task because he had experienced God. Nothing that came after in his life would ever be able to convince Ezekiel that God was not real.
Peter actually preached about this on Sunday and so we talked about it a lot last week. I think this is something God does for us – He did it for Moses with the burning bush, for Paul on the road to Damascus. I think there were maybe quieter moments when He created foundational moments for others – Rahab, perhaps, as she welcomed the spies into her house. Simon Peter when he dropped his net and followed Jesus. Something changed for him in that instant so that later he says truthfully to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed , and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”(John 6:68-69). Peter’s life was changed and he knows that he can’t return to his former life.
My moment was not as dramatic as Ezekiel’s or Paul’s. It’s hard to explain; it’s heart knowledge, not head knowledge. I’m sure that I could tell people and they would try and explain it away without God. The thing is though, once you have that “Ezekiel moment”, once the knowledge of God gets into your heart, nothing can explain it away. I know that God is real because I know that He was there with me in that room. Any moment in the last ten years when I’ve been tempted to doubt His existence, I recall that day and I know. It didn’t matter how much head knowledge I had before that, it was an encounter with our living God to bring me to my knees. I’ve been different since that day. I’ve lived my life differently. I’m still a flawed and sinful person and change comes slow and hard but I see my life from a different perspective, as one saved by Jesus Christ.
God is good. All the time.