Crushed, not destroyed; eternal, not temporal.

by Norm Miller

“We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed” 2 Cor. 4.8-9.

My beloved and I leave the Gulf today having spent four non-labor days here. As a preacher’s kid decades ago in Nashville, our family routinely vacationed here. Many great memories.

photoOn the beach yesterday just before sunset, millions, yes, millions of fingerlings swam frantically at shore’s edge, where scores of squawking gulls pecked at them, and dozens more dive-bombed them for dinner. There were so many wanton wingers that I expected to turn around and see Tippi Hedren sitting on a park bench.

When we stepped into the water, knee-deep, the small fry parted and then gathered around us. And the feathered feeding frenzy stopped.

But another began.

On the perimeter of this amorphous, undulating shoal of tiny fish -- whose congregation obscured the sea floor like a black carpet -- the water boiled. The torrent of terror splashed us as about 30 large fish resembled a malevolent merry-go-round.

Swimming like 60, the marauders bolted blindingly into their hapless victims. And upon seeing my not-tan legs, cut away with splashing severity.

The sea-borne attack drove the tiny meals shoreward, where gulls unafraid of humans continued their fish supper. And that sent the frightened fingerlings back to their much larger cousins.

Back and forth, from death to death. So it went for a half hour. But the fishies that swam at our legs were safe.

Stepping back onto shore, we observed a free-for-all. Without our legs in the water and our bodies above it, the scaled and feathered predators ate their fill, crazily, ceaselessly.

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Cor. 4.16-18.