If you notice the layout of my website or if you read my newsletter, you have a distinct sense that I love the ocean. Over a lifetime, the sea has provided a thousand metaphors for me to write about.
I grew up a mile from the Atlantic, and I could walk to the beach at any time of year. It was my haven, my banquet hall, my altar.
If my soul hurt, I walked along the shore and told the ocean (and God) all about it. If I needed to wrestle with a major decision, I did the same. Times of celebration at waters’ edge added to my joy—family gatherings, romantic walks, watching the sun rise above the water after the senior ball.
I wish I had taken a half hour out from the hustle-bustle and hurry-scurry of my wedding day to run down to the beach, dip my toes in icy March wavelets, and wave goodbye to my beloved ocean before moving to the Midwest for good. But I return to the ocean every year because…it is my haven, my banquet hall, my altar.
On one such visit, I watched powerful waves roll in and the tide pull them back. The sand was piled with shells deposited from the deeps and left behind in the sun. Most were broken, a few still pristine.
As I searched for a perfect shell, I also discovered sea glass. What had once been a beer bottle or some such, had shattered into dozens of pieces. Over time with the constant motion of the water, the shards had transformed into smooth, translucent pebbles. Beautiful.
Isn’t life like an ocean?
God uses the ebb and flow of seasons, and He allows the storms to stir up the waters, then orders the wind to cease.
Waves may wash over us with the gentleness of a mother bathing her infant. Other times they beat us down with unrelenting power. When life crashes upon us, we may break. Maybe a chip from the edges, maybe shattered into a dozen pieces. Or we may persevere unscathed.
If we break, God takes the same forces that nearly destroyed us and blunts our jagged flaws. Regardless of its ruthlessness or its tenderness, life, like the ocean, can smooth our rough edges.
The corona virus has brought a season of turbulence. Everywhere we look, we see lives buffeted and broken by sickness, by lost wages, closed businesses, isolation, and depression. Waves of destruction pound us over and over. It hurts, but remember—He has allowed this storm, and He will command it to cease.
In the aftermath, as an ocean of love ripples over us, people will be like the piles of shells at high tide’s edge. We will see some who are broken and needing help to heal. We will see those who appear unchanged by the storm. But I want to be like sea glass.
May I allow this storm to pummel me into submission and to rub at my sharp edges until a Christlike serenity shines through me. May I be a beautiful and translucent pebble where Jesus is my haven, my banquet hall, and my altar.