Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Broken or New?

Walking along the shoreline with the waves spilling its hidden treasures next to my feet, I find myself dismissing shell after shell in search for that one perfect unbroken one.

This tan and peach clam shell is chipped.

That grey mussel shell is crushed.

The part of that sand dollar sticking up is beautiful but when lifted from its place in the sand, the other half is missing.

These shells that are washed up on the shore have been battered by tide, feet, birds, weather…life. The journey they took to get to the place of being noticed couldn’t have been fun and couldn’t have been completely protected.

I walked down the beach looking at these shells hoping to find one that was un-chipped, un-scathed, un-blemished. Whole. New. Perfect.

But I was only looking half-heartedly because what pressed down on my mind more – my whole reason that I was on the beach – was the internal argument I was having with the Lord.

Why can’t life have less stress in it? Why do I always have something that has to be dealt with? Lord, I wish that I could go back to the days when I didn’t have so many things to stress and worry about. I wish I could have a life that made more sense. I just want to rewind. I want to go back to those times when I hadn’t gone through what I’ve been through. I don’t want to have to deal with all this. I don’t want to have to go through everything in my past…

And as I sat there in the sand contemplating these questions, ruminating on these complaints, and asking the Lord to guide me and let me see Him in all of this, I finally reached down and grasped a shell in my hand.

This shell had seen better days. It was once a part of a bigger, whole, beautiful shell down in its comfortable sea bed. This shell had taken quite a long journey from below sea level to above the waves to beyond the shore and into the sandy dunes where it now lay nestled between other rocks, shells, and remnants of shells.

This shell had been broken, chipped, split, washed ashore, battered, grated, and sanded down throughout the years. It was now just barely the size of a quarter with as many rough edges and rounded ones. And with all of its journey…it’s brokenness and change…it was still a shell. More than that…

…it was a whole shell. And not the kind of whole that would make it beautiful and worth keeping to anyone looking for “that one perfect shell.” It was whole in a different way.

Because this shell was unique. It was beautiful and different and unlike any other shell. It was exactly what it was meant to be because of the journey it was taken on. And what it looked like right then and there – the product of what it had gone through – was exactly as perfect as it should be.

It was washed ashore – because somewhere along the path, it had to let go and move forward from its comfortable home below the waves.

It was broken – broken because it endured crashing waves.

It was cracked – cracked because it had to let go of things that were keeping it from moving more freely.

It was chipped – chipped because of the rocks and shells that rubbed against it along the path.

It was grated and battered – by the other rough edges it came across.

It was in the sand –  because that was where its path led it.

And as I kept turning this shell over and over in my hand, I realized how much like this shell I am.

And how, in the Lord’s eyes, I am still beautiful and whole and perfectly-exactly who I am meant to be today. I don’t have to wish my life back to a child-like status. I don’t have to question why I have dealt with waves and chips and scratches and brokenness. I don’t have to wonder if I am exactly who I am meant to be…

Rev 21:5 - Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."
2Cr 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

We may never again be that person we were 1 year ago – 5 years ago – or 25 years ago. But that doesn’t mean we are broken and need fixing. It just means we are new. We are changed. We are different.

And, if you have surrendered your life to Christ and asked Him to be your personal Lord and Savior, you are exactly who the Lord has meant for you to be. He is in the process of changing and making new…not in the process of making us merely look “as good as new.”

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