When we started hiking along the seashore in Portimao, Portugal, the first thing I saw was rocks, almost islands, offshore of the rocky points. Sometimes, at low tide, you can walk on the sand out to some of the islands, but other times, it is surrounded by the gnashing sea. It is amazing. If you measure the hardness of water, it would be close to 0, while the rock might be a 5 (where diamond is 10.) Still, the only conclusion one can make is the soft water has slowly patiently consumed the tough rock.
As we continued to walk along the beach, we saw caves. The waves had fretted the coastline until they had dug those caves. Walking in, I was able to take some glorious pictures. Then we discovered that, in some places, the roof had caved in then the sea had devoured the rubble. Now, we could walk in and look up and see a circular patch of sky. This was a glorious sight. I loved discovering new caves that opened to circular skylights. Each headland seemed to have a new discovery of caves and holes. Resist though it may, the sea slowly won the battle.
One day, I saw a park where you pulled yourself up a small cliff by a rope before walking atop the headlands. I was champing at the bit to explore the headlands, and finally got a chance. As I walked, I approached these stunning cliffs, but not to close, for there were many signs warning of cliff collapse. Now it was my turn to fret, for some trails seemed to be on the very edge of the precipice. For the sake of attaining a glorious picture, I, with trembling, carefully approached to a safe distance. Sometimes, to my astonishment, I turned to go on and discovered the top of one of those skylights behind me. I was standing on top of a tunnel etched by the waves, one that may be no more stable than the very edge of the cliff. The thought sent my heart a racing. Others were not so daunted. One daring soul had built a ramp out over one hole. I started out before sanity stopped me. It was old and a little rusty. How stable was it now? My nervousness warred against my daring in a major way that day.
One day, I was able to go to the beautiful beach town of Carvoeiro. Spotting another cliff-side trail, I was soon hiking along the safe boardwalk path. After a bit, I spotted a spur that went down the cliff a ways. Reaching the bottom of the wooden steps, I spied people down much farther. Casting about, I discovered people, rather than waves, had fretted the rock to carve a staircase. At the end, they needed to carve a tunnel. Then it opened to trails, rocky steps, and tunnels going everywhere to explore the fantastic shapes the ever restless sea had molded into the stony massif. The work of man’s carvings was so puny compared to the sea’s. I tried to explore every trail, but yet again, fretting ate up my confidence. I dared not go where some young people went.
Sometimes, God asks us to go somewhere. If we go, we know we will see great and glorious things. Fretting though consumes our confidence. The question, though, is are we learning to trust God? Years of backpacking experience had taught me how much I could reasonably trust the cliffs. Years of walking with God have taught me to trust Him more. Still, there are areas I struggle. I fret and worry, which carves away at my trust in God. My fretting truly opposes God’s will. Stepping out with your knees all a quiver will be honored by God, and he will begin to unfold greater and greater vistas before you. Fretting, though will consume you till you dare not leave you little safety zone, and God cannot use you.