Listen, O Coastlands

“In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11

“Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
    let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
    let us together draw near for judgment.” Isaiah 41:1

“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’” Jeremiah 31:10

The morning tiptoes in with breeze and current, awakening marine life, wild horses, and birds. Birds! Gulls sweep and swirl as a graceful strand of pearls, long-necked cranes and ibis strut and poke the marshes with searching beaks. Culls, twitters, cackles, mournful coos pepper the fresh air, hushed by an occasional close-by whisper of feathered wings in flight. Outer banks are the only barrier between here and the vast dark sea. Listening in silence exposes the life of a new day.

Coastlands define our lands, tracing the division of water and land, marking the edge of solid here and infinity there. We are drawn to coasts because we yearn for a visual savoring of the eternity in our hearts. What do we learn from the coastlands? Do we take time to listen? (Genesis 1:9-10; Job 38:8-11; Ecclesiastes 3:11)

God is God of the edges, tracing the outer reaches of our lives and experiences, fully aware and keeping watch over even those areas we would neglect, or hold back from His notice or touch. Are we prone to flirting with the coasts of our devotion, and skirt too close to slipping, or betrayal? What causes us to overstep the boundaries our merciful God has set for our good and protection, thus endangering fidelity or a whole heart? Would we identify the rebel spirit, and come clean in confession?

What if we invited the Lord to extend His hand over every life boundary? What if we endeavored to enlarge our borders into God’s greatness, wisdom, and love, and then outward in ministry? (1 Chronicles 4:10)

“My stubborn will at last hath yielded;
I would be Thine, and Thine alone;
And this the prayer my lips are bringing,
Lord, let in me Thy will be done. 

I’m tired of sin, footsore and weary,
The darksome path hath dreary grown;
But now a light has ris’n to cheer me;
I find in Thee my Star, my Sun.

Thy precious will, O conqu’ring Savior,
Doth now embrace and compass me;
All discords hushed, my peace a river,
My soul, a prisoned bird set free.

Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever,
My wayward feet no more to roam;
What pow’r from Thee my soul can sever?
The center of God’s will my home.

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee.” ~Leila Morris (1862-1929)

Lord of the coastlands, trace Your grace around the borders of my days. Order my will and have Your way with me, that many will enter Your kingdom, renew their strength, and bring glory to Your name.

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