I have a weird relationship with seashells. Living less than three hours from the beach, I manage to travel to the ocean at least once a year. Even as a little girl, I remember my family loading up the car early in the morning, complete with a cooler packed with our meals for the day, and we would spend our day at the beach, arriving back home just in time for bed. Because of that, I’ve always enjoyed searching the beach for the best and most unique seashells. It’s my version of a treasure hunt. For as long as I can remember, God has used seashells to teach me lessons on topics I struggle to understand without His little object lessons.
Imagine my surprise when I recently made my yearly trek to the ocean, and there were no seashells to be found. The only seashells around were jagged, broken things bearing little resemblance to a seashell. Ironically, my oldest nephew asked me before we reached the beach what it would mean if there were no seashells. I jokingly replied, “That wouldn’t happen. It would mean we made a wrong turn and ended up at the lake instead of the ocean.”
When we got to the beach, it was as beautiful as always. However, it was also different. Rather than seashells, there was seaweed as far as the eye could see. Lining the shore was miles of the brown, slimy plant. My family was baffled. None of us could remember a time when we’d ever seen so much seaweed. What could cause it? Thirty-six hours later, we had our answer – Tropical Storm Alberto.
Life can be like that. We see a storm coming, and we get frustrated. Who wants a tropical storm interrupting their perfectly planned vacation? I certainly didn’t! However, just like Tropical Storm Alberto, sometimes we need life’s storms to stir up and help get rid of the detritus in our lives. That fear we constantly struggle with, the tendency to worry, or the desire to plan and be in control of every event that happens is like pieces of brown seaweed that need to be uprooted from our lives. As it says in James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
God doesn’t allow the storms of life to come our way because He’s mean. God loves us! And just like any parent who wants the best for his child, God sometimes says no so that we may obtain life’s best.
No, I won’t stop this storm because it’s scary and uncomfortable. This is necessary. Learn from it. Grow through it. Let My Spirit comfort and guide you through the problems you face. I’m making you into a masterpiece, one that’s whole and complete in Christ.
Are you in the middle of a storm? Ask God to use it to transform you into someone who is whole and complete in Him. Don’t fight the stirring of your soul when God challenges you to let something go. Remember, He wants more for you than you can begin to imagine.
The storm will eventually pass. The question is, will you leave it changed?
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Peter 1:6-7