Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Staggering Nature of God's Rewards

I love to travel, and I love to explore new places. Edisto Island in South Carolina is a small beach town and has all my favorite elements of God's glorious creation. Stunning ocean and waterways to explore, level paths to bicycle through live oak forests dripping with Spanish Moss, and magnificent creatures on land, water, and air.

I was determined to kayak, despite warnings that the launch site, just 1/4 mile upstream from where the river emptied to the ocean, had fierce currents. I was a little worried, but how could I NOT kayak on a river chock full of dolphins?

So guess what wonderful blessing God bestowed upon me? Hubby and I went bike riding, and found a launch site for my kayak that is further up the river and thus I would be less likely to be swept away to sea by the strong current. I rode 25 miles all over lovely Edisto Island, and feel like I know the place quite thoroughly now.

 I talked to a local fisherman at the new boat launch site, and learned that there are ZILLIONS of dolphins, and if I kayak every day I am likely to encounter some. He also told me that there are many BALD EAGLES all along the shore in the high trees. My new book due out within a month is about a Bald Eagle!! (Better get reading if you haven't read the first two books in the Unlikely Friends series -- Book 3 is the best yet in my opinion and if all goes as planned, I start Book 4 while here on Edisto Island.)

It was a pretty cold and windy day, so initially I was not going to kayak, especially because I'd ridden my bike for three hours (in some very stiff headwinds). But hearing that there were two of my favorite creatures in that area of the river, how could I NOT kayak? I put my bike away, kissed Hubby goodbye, and dashed out to the kayak launch site.

First I practiced going against the current. Next, I practiced going with the current but against the ferocious wind. Neither was super easy, but I wasn't struggling. I knew I could do it. Here's a video of me practicing right after launching.

Then, I kayaked upriver against the tide, and was all by myself. Not a single soul other than me was on the water. It was heavenly. I saw two dark large birds gliding on thermals overhead and was almost certain they were juvenile bald eagles. THEN, I saw a mature Bald Eagle sitting on a tree branch!  I took several photos but I don't think you can see her very well. I cropped and expanded the photo  below so you can see there really was a Bald Eagle in the tree on the shore.

She wasn't doing much besides sitting on the branch. She turned her head surveying her world, and once she stretched and flapped her enormous wings. I was enthralled. It is the longest span of time that I have ever watched a wild Bald Eagle. I bobbed in my kayak and thanked God. Then I whistled to the eagle. She turned her head and looked at me.

I started singing "America the Beautiful." At the top of my lungs. It seemed appropriate. She really paid attention then, swiveling her head and watching me.

I was in heaven. It reminded me of what CS Lewis said about God's blessings:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

I didn't see any dolphins, but I am confident I will. God seems to be intent on filling my heart to overflowing.

Malachi 3:10

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Philippians 4:19 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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