Walking along the shoreline of the ocean begs for shell-seeking. As you walk along, you are blinded by glimmers of colors pressed into the sand. You hear the crunch of the buried bits under your feet and an inquisitive mind wonders what treasures could be revealed just under their sandalled foot.
We bend down and scour the sand. What are we looking for? The perfect shell. Not one that has been walked upon, like we just did moments before! No, we seek for one that is unbroken; one that is completely whole with nothing missing or cracked. Those finds are rare. They are discovered by the early morning seekers, donned in water boots, standing ankle deep in the ocean’s foam to make their find before the lazy beachcombers awaken.
As I surveyed the beach on a mid-morning walk last week, I saw a shell in all its beauty! It appeared perfect! I snapped a picture to document my perfect find!
As I bent down and inspected the shell, I was reminded of how we also seek perfection in the children that would enter our home. “As long as they’re healthy, that’s all that matters!” we say. And what do we do if we find that there is a problem – a crack, if you will?
- What if a piece is missing, causing an illness or an unwanted diagnosis later on?
- What if their make-up is strong-willed and stubborn?
- What if there are special needs?
- What happens if there is a learning disability?
- What if rebellion comes with age and maturity?
- What ever will we do with the brokenness that displays itself at the time when we are most embarrassed by it?
The truth is that every child is broken. It comes as a result of being born into a sinful, broken world that has put sin in their nature. That “crack” will be seen in each child in different ways and different times, but it’s there. The blessing isn’t from overlooking the imperfection, but acknowledging it, for then we can find the Hope needed to comfort and restore.
That hope is the grace of God that brings salvation. As sure as the ocean’s tide will cover that broken shell on the shoreline, God’s grace will cover our child as they hear the message of the Gospel. Their greatest need isn’t to be “fixed,” but to be saved. If their weakness, brokenness and imperfection will point them to Jesus as the Savior for their sins, would it not be a treasure for which we did not ask?
What about illnesses, weaknesses and deformities and struggles that put hardship on the parents? God’s grace is as deep as the ocean, and it is sufficient for each day’s burdens and struggles. As the grace of God is witnessed by His daily strength to help, His wisdom to know how to move forward, and His provision that supplies for needs, that weakness glorifies the God who made that child and formed them in the womb. Surely He also puts in our hearts that this is not forever. One Day wholeness will come.
As I watch the waves roll in, one at a time, the Lord reminds me that that is how grace is given to us – one need at a time – not before we need it, or less than we need, but when we need it, and in sufficient amounts.
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. II Corinthians 12:9
After careful examination, it turned out that the “perfect shell” I found wasn’t perfect after all. Lovely as they are, I also saw early on that my girls were also broken, just like their parents! Praise God for the saving grace that has been applied to their lives and that is continually working in each of us as we look forward to that day in heaven when we will be like Jesus! That’s when we will see perfection!
Oh, how God’s heart rejoices at those that go looking for the broken! That refers to those that need the Gospel. With whom are we sharing the Good News of Christ?
Are you pouring the Gospel message into your children every day, weaving its message into all of life? As parents, it’s your responsibility!
If you don’t have children in your home, are you teaching the Gospel to your grandchildren or to your friends, neighbors and the people with whom you interact?
Let’s not be looking for what our hearts think we need (perfection) and instead, purposefully look for the brokenness around us that needs the tidal wave of God’s saving grace! There is no greater Treasure!