Late one night, around 1 am, after driving all the way out to the eastern side of Honolulu to drop off a friend who had been visiting me in Wahiawa for the evening, I felt a gentle pull on my heart. As I stared out into the abyss of ocean I was driving past, I felt a strange magnetism. Ignoring the directions on my phone, I turned left into an empty parking lot sitting just next to the placid sea.
A unique kind of loneliness had brought me here. Probably the product of having my heart stretched out in so many directions by the past few months. God has blessed me with a disposition that connects deeply and richly with almost anyone that happens to be in front of me, regardless of my context. Over the past 2 moths, I have spent 10 days on the big island of Hawaii, 18 days in Mexico, 10 days in Colorado, and 21 days on Oahu. I have experienced life as a nomad, and it has been magnificent. But as the joys of new and brilliant relationships soar high in the space of my heart, I have equally learned sorrow, sinking deeper with each goodbye. And on this particular night, I felt my weariness in these connections. It was an ache for connection that really lasts — to truly know that I belong somewhere.
Somehow, sitting on a rock and watching light flicker across the surface of a calm bay by myself brought me to feel this ache more deeply, and brought relief at the same time. I felt stretched in that paradox. I wasn’t wallowing in my loneliness, just watching it parade through my mind. I had a sense that God was sitting next to me on that rock, watching the parade go by too. I had a feeling that He gets it. He watches the parade of human loneliness stroll by every day. He’s walked in it Himself.
God and I sat on that rock for about 40 minutes in silence, just feeling. No need for lofty prayer or revelation. Just to sit and watch the water. Something about this time felt different from the rest of my life — as if the laws that govern the natural world didn’t fully apply to this little slice of time. The moon was full that night. Reaching it’s zenith for evening, it cast a spectacular and eerie light all across the water in front of me. A whispering breeze across the palm trees and miniature waves cresting against the sand were the only noises shimmering out of the empty silence around me.
Taking it all in, my heart began to shift from feeling heavy and lonely to being warmed by gratitude. God was with me in it. In every new, old, and expiring relationship. God was constant through all of it, always willing to sit on a rock with me, and feel what I feel. I thought of the disciples and the warmth that they felt towards Jesus. I remembered the story of Jesus walking on water, out towards his astonished disciples. I began to play that scene out before my eyes on the dark ocean. I saw Peter, full of faith, deciding to step out of the boat and join his Rabbi. I wondered what was going through Peter’s mind at the time.
I glanced down into the water below my feet, thinking about how the same God that had called Peter out of the boat was with me in this moment. The very foundation of my belief in God is that he is above nature, or “supernatural” so to speak. I have seen God do plenty of impossible things in my lifetime. I have witnessed healings, prophesy, redemption, reconciliation, that have all gone beyond what is possible according to the laws of nature. So in this quiet moment I told God that I wanted the same faith. Even if God doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want Him to, I want to be someone who is willing to ask Him for impossible things.
I was wearing jeans, crew cut socks, and my nicest pair of shoes, but I told God that I wanted to walk on water. I felt like a little boy asking for something like that, but It was just an honest thought that popped into my head. I sat there for a few moments more, hearing and feeling nothing from God. I knew it was completely ridiculous, but there was something I really liked about that. So after a few more moments hesitation, I literally just jumped off the rock, fully clothed. I landed in about two feet of water. No levitation, nothing. I laughed to myself at how ridiculous I must look. I stood there in the water for a while, sort of just enjoying the oddity of the moment.
Eventually, I crawled out of the water, and hopped back in the car, legs and feet soaking wet. On my way home, the thought crossed my mind that I wanted to be willing to look and feel ridiculous for the sake of experiencing God my whole life. I realized that there is nothing to lose in choosing to have faith rather than never seeking the impossible. I didn’t feel defeated or hurt that water behaved as water tends to behave. I knew God was with me before, during and after that moment, probably laughing along with me at the absurdity. The reward for faith is never really the thing we are asking for, it is God Himself.
So when the answer to my prayer for the impossible is “no”, I can experience that “no” with Him. And this exact phenomenon is what makes loneliness, sickness, distress, heartache, and pain bearable when I am looking for relief. He’s sitting there on that rock with me, feeling what I feel, asking me to have faith. I pray that my life is littered with evidence of faith, places that I have asked God to do the impossible. I want to always be the kid walking around with his jeans, socks, and shoes soaking wet. Maybe someday they’ll be dry.