“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
1 John 2:15-16 ESV
I was running late. I know, that's not surprising to most of you. I was particularly frustrated at my lack of punctuality because I was so very excited to spend an hour walking the beach with some Precious sisters in Christ and pray. I needed prayer time. I was struggling with impatience with the Lord and being distracted by all the "possibilities" that were passing me by in life.
When we discussed meeting I remember hearing that we'd "meet at the public access on the west end by...." Ugh it's frustrating that I cannot remember the details and just be present when people are talking. So needless to say, I was late, lost and not even sure where to meet them. I decided I would park and walk towards the west end and I thought for sure we would meet sooner than later. I just needed prayer time. I zipped into a spot along the highway and tossed my keys on the floor board. I slipped my flip flops off on the end of the long walkway. I just could not wait to get my feet in the sand and "feel God's presence".
I love the sea. It reminds me of the power of God. Gazing Into the deep blue water pulls me into contemplating the depths of his mysteries. As I stood on the edge of the crystal green and blue water lapping gently against the grains of sand I began to praise God and ask him for peace and calmness in this uncertain season in life. I dwelt on the thoughts of my frustration and Unsatisfied desires. As I entertained thoughts of lack and limitations, something caught my eye. I scanned the shimmering, dancing water for the flashing white and pink that distracted my clouded mind.
I saw it, a beautiful scalloped and spiraled conch shell. It was large, and whole, and stunning. I love collecting shells and have a dish in my house with all sorts of beautiful pieces of God's magnificent artwork. I wanted that shell! As the waves seemed to rush in faster and longer I tried to keep my eyes connected to the beautiful shell. In and out, back and forth, the waves moved the shell effortlessly.
Now keep in mind that I was dressed for beach walking and not wadding! The shell seemed to stay just out of my reach. I inched my way further and further into the water with each wave to try and get my hands on it. I had my yoga pants rolled as high as I could, and my sleeves pulled up over my shoulders. It was just right there, barely out of my reach. "Ugh! I went for it and drenched my shirt!" It rolled deeper into the depths.
I backed out of the water and stood looking frantically for the shell for a moment. As my eyes scanned back and forth, God spoke to my heart. "Be patient and ask me. Allow me to lavish love upon you and bring the things out of your reach, to your feet."
I closed my mind and smiled as I thought of how silly I must look. I prayed and smirked a little as I asked God to forgive my impatience and lack of contentment in all things in my life. How foolish I must seem chasing and reaching for the things I think I must have now!
As I prayed, I felt a thunk on my foot. Of course! I gazed down to see the beautiful shell, placed right upon my foot. I laughed and cried and praised God for showing me exactly how simple it can be when I humbly ask Him and wait.
I knelt down and picked up the treasure! It meant so much more now. God lavished it upon me. He placed in my care, at my feet. He willed it to be so. What an amazing gift from a loving father! I had strived on my own will to gain the treasure, but it remained out of my reach, until I submitted and asked God for the provision, and He said yes! He gave it to me.
I strolled along the beach in the general direction of where I thought my sweet friends might be. I hoped to see them so I could share the divine revelation that God delivered to me. I turned the treasure over in my hands and looked at it carefully and with great adoration. It was such a perfect demonstration of God's love for me. As I lifted my head to smile at the people passing me, my eye caught a flash of white and pink in the arms of the woman passing me. She had a shell too! I paused to get a good look at her shell. It was so much bigger than mine! It was huge, beautiful and without blemish.
"Wow, that's amazing!" I declared to her; as my hand dropped down to conceal my shell. "Where did you find that?" I asked.
She smiled and said, "We took a great dive today and found it at about 35' down. Do you dive?"
I felt my heart drop a bit and sheepishly said, "No, no I don't dive." I smiled goodbye and strolled ahead.
I was so disappointed at how quickly I disregarded the treasure that God had just lavished upon me when I compared it to someone else's treasure.
I sat down and repented. I cried and asked God for patience and contentment in the moment right where I was. He was faithful of course. I gripped my treasure with great appreciation and reverence and headed home in awe of how personal and extravagant God is.
My prayer for today:
God you are filled with an unending and overwhelming amount of mercy and grace. Pour it out upon me father. Fill my body to the brim with your spirit. Divinely impart patience, understanding and contentment to my heart and mind, in the very Holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.