Overwash

Highway 12 is the main road that runs north to south on the Outer Banks. It is a narrow two-lane road that is bordered by the ocean on the east and the sound on the west. There are places where it runs through Pea Island National Seashore that are so narrow you can easily walk from ocean to sound in a few minutes.

Highway 12 has been closed for several days due to ocean overwash and wet sand impeding travel. Big swells from Hurricane Teddy and our normal high tides have impacted that little strip of road and our Department of Transportation has struggled to keep up. Water is powerful. Water is sometimes dangerous. Water gets its own way.

I have always lived close to water. I grew up in New Jersey about an hour from the ocean, spent my summers camping by the streams and lakes of Central Pennsylvania, and now live on a canal that opens out to a harbor and the sound. My “At Water’s Edge” life is a metaphor for the beautiful power that water has over our lives. It sustains us, nourishes us, cleanses us, satiates us, keeps us alive, and even symbolizes our initiation into the household of God at our baptisms. Water is essential to life…yet too much of it can be deadly. Not enough of it can be fatal as well.

Psalm 78 (Common English Bible)

But God performed wonders in their ancestors’ presence—
    in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 God split the sea and led them through,
    making the waters stand up like a wall.

This amazing image of God parting the Red Sea so that the thousands of Hebrews could walk across on dry land is stunning. He made the waters stand up like a WALL. It is a timely reminder that no matter what you are dealing with today, God’s power can easily move it aside so that you can safely walk through it.

14 God led them with the cloud by day;
    by the lightning all through the night.

Then God combined water vapor with air and created a cloud for his people to follow. It gave them much needed direction and the assurance that as long as they followed him they would be all right. It was a tangible reminder of God’s abiding presence. Are you feeling alone? Look up. God’s cloud is with you.

15 God split rocks open in the wilderness,
    gave them plenty to drink—
    as if from the deep itself!

When they were almost perishing from lack of water, God split rocks in the desert and made clean, potable water flow out. They had plenty to drink…from rocks. If God can do this, is there nothing he wouldn’t do to save you from your situation?

16 God made streams flow from the rock,
    made water run like rivers.

Yes, water is powerful and often dangerous. But God is greater than all of that. So if you feel like you are drowning today, reach up. God will surely grasp you by the hand and pull you out. Ask him to wash over you with his grace, mercy, and healing and he will lead you across the dry land to his safe place.

Highway 12 Overwash by Tim Fitch

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