She kept telling us it was the experience of a lifetime, that we would never see anything like this again. In her euphoria the tour guide told us to never come back, that we would never see it this good. She squealed in delight: “They’re at 12 o’clock! Three o’clock! Six o’clock! Oh my, they’re everywhere! This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen!”
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about this young lady’s attitude. We were having a good time. But was our trip THAT good, THAT different from other times? Was she exaggerating, was she this effervescent every time? Let me tell you what was going on.
We were in Boston for a wedding and decided to go on a whale watching tour out of Boston Harbor with our younger son. On our way out, we placed bets, predictions really – there was no money involved, on how many whales we would see. Wanting to set the bar low, Janice said one. I felt even if we saw 10, saying 2 would better Janice’s prediction. So Drew said 3.
By the end of our tour, the giddy tour guide reported that we had seen somewhere between 25 and 40 different whales. Not just 40 sightings, but sightings of different whales. They give names to some of them, and how they know who’s who in the zoo, I mean in the sea, I’m not sure. What I do know is that for an hour we saw humpback whales feed like a bunch of tourists at an Amish smorgasbord (I’m thinking Shady Maple in PA. Been there?).
The whales eat so much that birds come and feed off of the leftovers. Birds will ride on the heads of whales for a bit, just waiting for the fish that the whale just couldn’t handle. And when that’s over, the whales dive down and go for more. That’s when you see that signature whale tale up in the air.
Truthfully, for all I know, everybody gets to see that spectacle. It’s the only time I’ve been out. Probably not though, there’s the caveat presented at the beginning that you might not see ANY whales. They say that for a reason. I am so glad, and feel blest, that we saw what we saw.
I’m still stuck on the comment the guide made to not come back. Would I go back? I don’t know. It’s a fun ride out and back in and of itself. But I would NEVER, as a guide, tell people not to come back. That would be like me as a pastor telling you not to come back on a particularly blessed Sunday morning service. Why would I do that? Because I don’t expect God to bless us ever again in that way? That I never expect that good music, or that good of a sermon, or whatever?
There is no limit to what God can offer. Every mountain top experience we have ever had with the Lord can be improved on, because there is no limit to God’s goodness and grace. So there is always reason to come back!
And… Let us not take for granted the glory and the privilege of being in His house every time we come. We didn’t get jaded to the appearance of a whale even after being out there over an hour. Even though they were all over the place. Every time was an encounter with a majestic being that could overwhelm us if they tried. Every time was an encounter with a being that lives in a different world than ours. Every time was special. Over the Stellwaggen Ledge in the Atlantic, or in church this morning.
Glad you’re here,
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Psalm 63:2,3