Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”
Throughout my life, walks on the beach are a much-loved, and much anticipated time of peace and reflection. The crashing of the waves, the cool breezes, the water lapping over my bare feet and the sun beating down is a fond memory to remember as the snow of winter flies. But even more than the mental escape to warmer days, is the remembrance of the awe of God that accompanied those strolls on the beach.
As I remember those walks, I am reminded of the copious amounts of sand that clung to my feet; the inevitable grains or pebbles that made their way into my shoes after returning from the solitude of a beachfront walk. That pebble or those grains of sand evoked a mixed response – often one of fond remembrance, but sometimes, a nagging, painful reminder that all cannot be as that beach would bring to mind.
Our loving Heavenly Father often breaks through our comfort to remind us that what we may desire as a comfortable, peaceful existence, must be shattered with the reality that this world is truly not a place to drive down stakes and take up permanent residence.
Just as a pebble in our shoe would remind us of just where we had been, we must allow those painful events, those loved ones gone before us, those times of deep sorrow to draw us back to the stark reality of the temporary existence you and I have here on this earth.
Many a person will gripe and complain; using the weather as their way of hiding their dissatisfaction with their life. Think of it – that sand we may find or that pebble in our shoe could be the fondest of memories because of who it is we walked with on that beach that day. But it can also be a two-edged sword that pierces us when the dearest to us can no longer walk that beach.
Often, these months following Christmas and New Years are very difficult for those who’ve lost loved ones. That ‘pebble in their shoe’ might be a memory evoked when taking the ornaments down from the tree, hearing a favorite song or a picture frame that needed dusting.
It often strikes without warning. Emotions that rise up from a smell, a token of affection, greeting old friends can trigger that memory; opening the floodgates that we seem to have no strength against. But please allow me to apply this to something that God pricked my heart with today.
I came to my Bible reading today with a sense of anticipation; a desire to see what my Father had for me today. That desire broke through the sleepy edges of my consciousness as my feet hit the floor next to my bed. A prayer of gratitude rose up thanking Him for the night’s sleep I enjoyed, the continued protection He gave through the night, the warmth of my home that He provided and the strength He gave to my legs to help me get out of bed.
Just then, a sharp pain shot through my arm and reminded me that I am not as young as I once was. I realized just then, that I had a choice: to complain of the time of life I now exist or to think of all that God has done to bring me to this moment. Those ‘pebbles’ if you will, can be a wonderful reminder or if we choose, a thorn that pierces the comfort we create for ourselves.
Mondays can be that reminder of what God has provided to sustain us with the means to live and to give. Or it can be the jumping off point to a rant of epic proportion that literally sucks the life out of the work God did just days ago. At the heart of such negativity is usually a wound; a pebble that reminds us that all is not as well as we would think it to be or we portray it to be.
So, where does one go when that ‘pebble’ seems to get lodged or difficult to remove? The apostle Paul reminds us:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Paul realized that his ‘pebble’ was to remind him of his dependence upon God for what truly made him effective in his ministry. More often than not, we will never truly understand this side of Heaven just why God did what He did by placing that pebble in our shoe. But being able to rest in the knowledge that our Heavenly Father truly knows what is best can bring us to the beach where we can once again walk with Him to find the peace and healing and comfort we so desire.
My friend, you are never alone. Any voice that would tell you otherwise is not of God. If you are saved, you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. You have the promise that He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. You have His Word that the work He has begun in you and me will be finished to completion.
John 14:17 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Hebrews 13:5 “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
There is a balm in Gilead that heals – it is there for you and I to apply when the pebbles placed in our life are more painful that we feel we can bear. But know this – they are there as opportunity to give God the glory if we yield to the One who placed it there.
May you truly experience a “Happy Monday” today!