My daughter and I did not go down to the beach on the day of the storm. The wind in combination with occasional rain showers made it cold and difficult to try and hunt for shells. It was disappointing. In our first days at the beach before the storm, we were accustomed to rising early and combing the beach for shells. We were particularly drawn to finding sand dollars. We were delighted to have even found several. Sand Dollars are quite fragile and there seemed to be a lot of broken fragments laying on the beach, but to find a whole sand dollar, well, that was quite a find.
On this last day of our vacation, though, God had a surprise in store. We went out early. The sand was cold and the air was not much warmer; even the water felt warm on our cold toes.
Piles of sea weed were scattered along the shore like tumbleweeds, blown up by the fierce waves from the previous day. But the waves of the storm also deposited other evidence of the ocean, and as I would see, evidence of God's love.
We found star fish and sea urchins. We found an old trap that washed up and an old buoy. There were shells and pieces of shells in abundance. There were more things on the beach this morning, after the storm, than there had been previously.
And as we walked along, we discovered one by one, Sand Dollars of all sorts of sizes and colors. Like children on an Easter egg hunt, we giggled and searched, wondering what we would find next and how many would there be?
Nineteen Sand Dollars in total. Who would have ever thought it possible? Not me. It was as if God was saying to me, "P.S. I love you!"
We displayed them in the shape of a heart for a photo. I wanted to remember this sign of God's love for me - His abundantly, faithful and sometimes surprising love for me. Whole Sand Dollars resting on a bed of broken shells. God's love for me amidst some of the brokenness in my own life.
After gathering the sand dollars back up we imagined, out loud, to one another, "Wouldn't it be something to have an even 20?"
No kidding, we looked down to see one more instantly uncovered by a receding wave. That would be 20.
Now I don't have any idea how or why it would be that we found 20 Sand Dollars in one morning, but in the amazing experience that we shared, God showed me a couple of things.
1. God is at work in every detail of our lives.
2. God is always showing us how much He loves us.
3. God does give us special gifts after (and in) the storms of our lives. He may use these storms to stir up these surprises for us that reveal to us His goodness and His love.
4. Even when God seems to give us alot, sometimes He even gives us more.
Dear reader, take hold of God's love for you. As the storms of life blow in and out, sometimes hourly or daily or weekly or monthly, look for the gifts that He has just for you. He is writing you a love letter in the story of your life. Look for His "post-scripts" (or "post-storms") and be assured of His unfailing love for you.
Jeremiah 31:3 says, "In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I continued to be faithful to you." (NET) In the paraphrase the Message it describes God as saying, "I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, and love, and more love!"
Dear reader, take hold of the truth of God's love for you. In your suffering that seems like a "far-off land" God will show Himself to you. Look for the gifts that God has just for you. He is writing you a love letter in the story of your life. Look for His "post-scripts" (or "post-storms") and be assured of His everlasting love for you.
Love, love and more love! Nineteen Sand Dollars and one more. God is amazing.