When I was at the beach not too long ago, I stopped and sat down on the sand, soaking up the sun. This beach was full of beautiful treasures washed up by the waves. I noticed some interesting looking shells lying near my resting spot, so I started to look at them more closely. I noticed that some were very intricate in shape and color and others were smooth with few rough edges. Some were very simple and sleek with muted colors while others were brighter and more vibrant, with fascinating nooks and crannies. I picked them up, piled them up in front of me in the sand and began imagining how each one became what it was; what its journey through the ocean might have been like, how far it had traveled before finally being spit up on the sand for beach lovers to gasp over and bring home as lovely treasures.
Looking at the force of the waves breaking on the shore, I can see that these shells went through a lot to get where they ended up; some of them whole and intact; while others were broken and a bit beat up, but pretty and interesting all the same. I like to imagine that these shells were uprooted from where they were comfortable and established on the ocean floor. The incessant pull of the tide, other larger sea creatures disrupting them, bothering them, forcing the creatures inside of the shells to move, hide or break just to survive.
Depending on the distance traveled, the severity of the storms weathered and the amount of time the shells were thrown into the rocks and ocean floor, all had a huge impact on how these shells arrived on the beach, what condition they were in when their journey was over. Isn’t this so much like us? When we finally come to Jesus and allow Him to be the center of our lives, our “enough”, don’t we sometimes feel a bit worse for wear? For some of us, the journey was not as arduous as it was for others, so we arrived like clean, shiny shells with just a few rough edges. For others, the journey was long and difficult and we arrived broken and battered, after weathering all that we did. Still others arrived with a vibrancy that captures the attention, with fascinating nooks and crannies coming from life experiences that are begging to be examined and figured out.
The very wonderful thing about these seashells, read us, is that each one is beautiful in its own way. Each one reaches out and speaks to someone different. Each shell, each one of us, with our intricacies, brokenness, vibrancy or calm energy, funky nooks and crannies or smooth edges, is needed to make this world what it is; to speak to and reach other people right where they are in their lives. I can’t imagine walking a beach and seeing only shells that look identical. How boring that would be; how devoid of life and mystery!
I say we embrace our journey and value all those things that made us into the funky, fascinating, funny people that we are! I believe that Jesus looks at each of us and all the ways that our journeys transformed us, gasps in delight and snatches us up as His very precious treasures.