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“And, I pick you!”

April, 2022 – Faithful Living ~

The sign says, “No live shelling.” I have never seen a sign with this inscription before…and although it certainly makes sense, it does not dissuade me. I love the adventure of treasure hunting! Don’t you?

Becky and I were blessed to spend the winter months in Southwest Florida. And, we had the chance to share time with special friends including our pickleball buds, along with visiting the ocean. We enjoy the beach, the surf, the warmth, the attractive aroma of suntan lotion, packed away sustenance, each other’s company, and a good book.

Becky and I will often take walks and occasionally I walked solo on the beach. For me, taking my time to watch people and look for treasure as the waves roll in and out is a pleasurable pastime.

Scanning the sand might be boring to many. Not to me. I can do it for hours. Seeing the colors of the coral, stones, and shells continually reminds me how great the pallet of God is. And, the shells that make the cut—those that will journey back with me to our place on the beach, must meet certain standards. They have to pass muster.

I will meticulously inspect everything that I pick up. If they are marred or scared; if they have holes or cracks; if the shell is not complete and uniform, I’ll drop it back to the sand or toss it into the water. There is no remorse or guilt whatsoever. If I don’t like it, that’s ok. Maybe someone else will.

One day, as I meandered along the shore by myself, the Lord brought to my attention my attitude regarding shelling. As I get older, I am becoming more discriminate regarding what I will pick up and what I will leave alone. The hunt for the ‘right’ shells in my eyes captures my attention and focus almost entirely.

During this particular wandering, the Holy Spirit revealed more about the nature of God Himself. I made the leap from shells to people. I realized that like the broken shells that lie on the beach…people lie broken and scared by life, hoping that someone will glance their way and stoop to pick them up.

In searching for shells, I look only on the surface…but with people, God gazes at the heart. People matter to God, shells don’t. Do people really matter to you…do they matter to me? I think God comes closest to people that have been wounded in their lives by hurts, hiccups and hang-ups. Who are these people? I would venture to say every one of us! God is close to all of us including the brokenhearted, the lost, the outcast, the orphan and the widow.

Let me share another example: I had found a sand dollar among some material that washed up on the sand, and brought it back along with other fabulous finds to the large towel. As we were getting up to leave, Becky picked it up and it broke in her hands. She was crushed to say the least! I am not writing this to shame my wife, but only to say that we were struck with how delicate this little flat burrowing sea urchin shell was. The Lord allowed me to find it whole, only to leave it there on the beach in several pieces. Why? I believe Jesus wanted us to see that our lives are also delicate and fragile and we can break easily—emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

What I love about this time of the year is that we have the privilege to celebrate the most important day in history commemorating an event that occurred many years ago.

The Great Mender of humanity carried a cross up and out of Jerusalem, after being beaten so badly it was hard to recognize him…so that He could be killed on it. Why did He willingly have this atrocity committed against Him? Because of His simple obedience. Because God picked up all the sinful bad stuff of our lives and dumped it all on His only Son. He died for all us, the broken people of the world. He died or you and for me.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NIV

This is the hope and joy of the Gospel! So be of good courage. The Great Rescuer has picked us up! He has redeemed us! All the glory and praise to the Risen Savior who is Christ the Lord!

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