“…..The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21
About a month ago my mom and I were walking the beach in Cape May, NJ looking for seashells to do a craft with. It was not your typical beach day – it was windy, the waves were crashing and we were wrapped up in sweatpants and sweatshirts. Definitely not sunny and 75, but I always say any beach day is a good day.
We did not have much luck finding seashells. We found a couple keepers but the majority of our loot was pebbles. We ended up coming home with 2 grocery bags half-way filled with our treasures. That is exactly what those broken shells, pebbles and stones were: treasures.
Walking along the beach got me to thinking about how the ocean represents our God. I know that the ocean has been compared to God in numerous ways. There is even a 7-minute song about it. What got me really thinking though was the concept of the ocean waves. The waves crash onto the shore leaving the treasures behind and then collecting them back.
The ocean delivers us seashells, some broken and some fully intact, along with some stones and rocks. God give us blessings like seashells and hardships like the stones. The seashells are treasured more because of their beauty and worth. We pray and hope for blessings to come our way and sometimes the Lord delivers, but sometimes he delivers stones and hardships. We need to understand that what the Lord delivers that is his plan.
In my life I have had many “seashells and stones” come my way. Some “seashells” or blessings would be a great supportive family, friends and great memories. I believe my greatest blessing would be allowing me to attend Liberty University and continue my education. I shared many great experiences, met some forever friends and got to experience things I never imagined I would.
As I said before, God gives and takes away and it was His plan for me to move back home while I still continued my education. While we were walking the beach, some shells stood out by themselves for us to pick up while others were concealed within a pile of stones and shells. Sometimes God gives us blessings but then sometimes we may have to do a little searching to find blessings. Sometimes blessings are disguised as hardships. A stone may have beauty all its own.
The Lord gives us hardships in our life, our stones. They may not be pretty. They may be major rocks or tiny inconveniencing stones. A major rock or hardship in my life was my dad passing away. He passed away from massive heart attack at the age of 42. Even though I was young it still continues to be difficult for me to understand why God would choose this to happen to me. I wonder at times why He would allow me to cry, hurt and suffer. Even when we do not understand the pain we go through, continuing to trust God helps us keep our focus on Him.
The Lord is like the ocean in the sense that He gives us hardships and takes them away too, while He also gives us blessings and takes them away. We need to trust God that He may give us things we cannot handle to remind us to rely on Him and allow Him to handle the problems we may face. The Lord is faithful and He does not want to harm you, rather He is molding us daily into someone more like Him.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
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