We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 (ESV)
No man is defeated without until he is defeated within.
~~ Eleanor Roosevelt
When I was young, my mother and I would take occasional morning walks on the beach… she was crazy about the beach and seashells but she mostly loved to watch the sunrise over the rolling waves. I was never a morning person so sometime between dark and dark thirty she would wake me and I would pull my sluggish self out of the bed and take a ride to nearby Padre Island. I must admit that once we arrived at our destination, the beauty of the sunrise over the crashing waves was breathtaking. Once the sun rose we would begin our journey by foot up and down the shoreline.
While walking, I would search far and wide for the most beautiful shells, the ones that appeared flawless, without a blemish. My mom on the other hand was just as fascinated with the broken and fragmented shells. It gave her great joy to observe the detail, makeup and intricacy of each wonderfully unique discovery. Mom would also hold each of her treasures tightly in the palm of her hand as if she has found the most glorious treasure in the sea.
I like to think this is how our Father sees us. He, after all knows the exact number of hairs on our head – Luke 12:7
Scripture reminds us of our Fathers love for His weak and broken children.
When the righteous cries for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Psalms 34:17-18 (ESV)
Be merciful to me, Oh God; be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. Psalm 51:1 (ESV)
The world looks for outward beauty- – -the thinnest, richest, most educated, talented, beautiful, and powerful or maybe the most sophisticated but our Lord Jesus looks deeper. He sees past our brokenness and shattered dreams and sees our true heart. It is only in this broken place that we are able to spiritually mature. I noticed that the perfect shells I used to seek out were in their present state because they had been spared the turmoil and harsh elements of the mighty sea.
I personally don’t like the idea of being tossed and turned. I will generally attempt to avoid turmoil and take the path of least resistance. And I would prefer to be the shell on the shore or better yet the one in the beach gift shop so I could sit comfortably on display. They are polished and shiny. The insides are perfectly clean. There is never the chance of rot and stench. But it is the trial, storms and cleaning out of inner decay that builds our temperament and moral fiber.
When the traumas of the storms of life toss and turn us inside and out, we can take comfort in the following Psalms. It is just one more assurance that our Lord will never leave our side.
You’ve kept track of every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered into your ledger, each ache written in your book. Psalms 56:8 (MSG)
Sweet Lord, today I acknowledge the truth of your word. I will claim your unconditional love and affection for me with a confidence only you can provide. I will praise Your Holy name forever and ever. Amen
This article is dedicated in loving memory of my mother Mary Eleanor Lloyd Mc Coy.
(October 16, 1937-May 21, 2010)