I stood bare-footed on the beach, gazing at the smooth line where teal water met brilliant blue sky. Lord, what an incredible world you created. The rhythm of waves created a soundtrack for this moment of worship. Each lap ushered in a fresh display of shells. Some stayed, some drifted back with the retreating wave. The ever-changing picture at my feet fascinated me. I bent, picked up a pristine white shell, marveling at the perfect symmetry of the ridges along its back. A tiny miracle in my hand. Thank you.
I put the shell in my pocket, then bent and picked up another, then another. Cockle, clam, olive.
“Find any sea glass?” a friend called.
“Not yet!” I stepped deeper into the water, gaze fixed on the revolving patterns in the sand, this time looking for bright bits of color. Ignoring the shells that had captured my attention moments earlier, paying no attention to the rhythmic music of the waves or the contrast of sea green and sky blue, I began searching for sea glass.
A woman with a plastic bucket walked into “my” space and it annoyed me. What if she found a piece of sea glass before I did?
Minutes passed. Nothing. Half an hour, and my hands were still empty. I walked a few yards up the beach–into the bucket lady’s space–hunting for color, but found none. Maybe closer to the pier. Nothing there either. And then my husband yelled that it was time to leave and I looked up . . . at teal water and blue sky, at a pelican swooping down for an afternoon snack, at a necklace of white foam adorning the top of a curling wave. All this beauty, free for the taking, and I’d wasted precious time searching for something man-made and, though bright and beautiful, of no real value.
The parallel to life in general smacked me like a rushing wave. How many times have I taken my eyes off grace, mercy, peace, forgiveness, love because of something bright and shiny I thought I wanted? How many times have I walked away empty-handed when the real treasures were free for the taking? What blessings have I missed because of tunnel vision–hunting for more, bigger, brighter man-made trinkets and pleasures?
Beneath the water, sea glass can shimmer brightly, like wave-smoothed gems. But pick it up, make it yours, and set it on a shelf at home, and the surface turns white. It loses much of its luster and color. Not so shiny any more. Like so many things in this world we think we want to possess–fame, wealth, relationships, popularity, power. And all the while, God holds out riches that are ours for the taking. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience . . .
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
What are you searching for that might leave you empty-handed?