Saturday, January 18, 2020

God's Best

Photo by Laurie Collett 2020
My husband and I were walking the beach on a beautiful morning, in the perfect setting for our prescribed 30-minute brisk daily walk. The sun-streaked, silver waves glimmered as they swirled along the shore in frothy, lacy curly-cues. Feathery clouds arched through the robin’s egg blue sky, where terns flew in a V-shaped formation and pelicans soared, periodically interrupting their flight to nose dive into the sea in search of breakfast.

“Only primo specimens,” Richard shouted over the drum roll of the surf. He must have seen me glancing furtively at the chipped, yet still colorful and intricate shells lining the beach, and the fragments of fossilized bone that were too small to be identified and given a home in his already vast collection. 

With a sigh, I knew he was right. Not only would such souvenirs add to the clutter at home, but they would weigh us down on our morning walk. On previous jaunts like this, poor Richard was laden down, beach bag stuffed and pockets bulging with what appeared to the casual observer to be just rocks! 

The main objective on this day was to get 30 minutes of moderately paced exercise, to strengthen our hearts, bodies and immune system. If we were to get bogged down stopping to examine, pick up, and rinse off a beach treasure, it would interrupt our continuous exercise and keep us from reaching our goal. 

Being too preoccupied with beachcombing could also distract us from taking time to appreciate God’s blessings of the balmy breeze, the crisp salt air, the warm sunshine, and each other to share the experience!

Later on, on our sunset stroll, there would be the luxury of pausing to admire each find and show it to each other, discussing whether a long, black object was a fossilized rib or femur to be kept, or just a rock to be discarded. But even then, if we collected merely average specimens, we would run out of room in our bag and pockets for finer gifts from the sea. 

As I wandered along the shore’s edge, often a shiny or dark, large object would catch my eye, and I would bend down to scoop out of the water before the waves could carry it away. But often, as I did that, finally clutching the prize in my hand, I would notice an even better specimen being drawn out to sea by the waves, now tantalizingly out of reach. 

Whether or not we fill our storage chests with better or worse specimens is of minimal importance in the vast scheme of things. But it reminded me that we can become weighted down (Hebrews 12:1), and even set off course, by the seemingly good things the world has to offer, while missing out on God’s best (James 4:4). 

As born-again Christians (John 3:3-8) saved by our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), we know that He has a unique plan for each of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). The safest and best place we could possibly be is to be in the center of that plan, for He loves us infinitely and wants what is best for us (Jeremiah 33:3). 

The extent of the rewards we are given at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), and the sorrow we experience over missed opportunities to serve Him, will in large part depend on how attuned we are to hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance and to make wise choices (Romans 8:14; Matthew 6:24). To run the race of faith with perseverance and dedication, we must not become weighted down with distractions, or worse yet, let temptation lead to sin that keeps us from finishing the course (1 Corinthians 9:24, Hebrews 12:1). 

I remembered a story often repeated by Charles Stanley in his sermons, which I will attempt to paraphrase. As a young pastor struggling to make ends meet, he needed to replace his car. He prayed and searched for a good deal on a used economy car, and finally found one for sale that seemed to be a perfect fit for his budget. 

As he was about to sign the paper work, he heard the Holy Spirit asking him, “Son, do you want this, or do you want God’s best?” 

So he muttered an apology to the confused salesman, got up, and left the car dealership, reluctant to let the car go, yet trusting in God’s will and guidance. Three days later, he was stunned by a surprise visit from a member of his congregation. 

“Pastor, I know you need another vehicle, and one day over coffee a few weeks ago you shared with me all the features you would like in your dream car if money were no object,” the church member began..”So I took the liberty of purchasing your brand new dream car for you, and I am praying you will accept it as a gift from me and my family.” 

Needless to say, Pastor Stanley learned the lessons of listening for God’s still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12), and waiting on the Lord (Psalm 27:14), Who always desires to shower His children with the blessing of His very best gifts (Matthew 7:11). May we do the same until He comes again!

© 2020 Laurie Collett



Brenda said...

Hi Laurie, I absolute agree to being obedient to the Lord's still voice,and the Holy Spirit's guidance. I know the Lord has spoken to me recently and I am intending to do what He has asked me to do. Many times our carnal mind will question things and try to divert us from being obedient to God's Word. The main thing is that we should act on the Word we believe the Lord is speaking to us because He holds our future and His thoughts are for our welfare. God bless Laurie, I enjoyed reading about your lovely walk.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
I too love the coastal environment and like you, I too find much pleasure in strolling along the beach, especially if it's windy and the beach consist of pebbles (plenty of that here around the UK) or the rocky coastline, and watching the waves crash into the solid and stable rocks or roars as it rolls along the pebbly shoreline!
Since we don't have a car, for us to get to the beach, there is the need for a couple of hours on the train, always with at least one change of platform midway into the journey. Hence, trips to the coast tend to be rare but are well-treasured occasions.
According to Revelation 21:1 there will be no more sea in the new world coming. What a pity, for I love the coastline. But as it goes on to describe the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, its splendour is so astounding that the absence of the sea will no longer be relevant.
An excellent post, God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda -- may we listen for, hear and follow His still, small voice as He leads us in the path of righteousness. Thank you for your lovely comment and God bless,

Laurie Collett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Although we get to the Florida coastline far more often than that of the UK, we have in past years enjoyed many strolls along the Irish shore. Quite a difference from the balmy, placid, sunny weather and surf that usually graces our beachfront getaway! But we love the rugged, moody, intense feel of beaches in Ireland. Sometimes when the sun streams through the clouds and reflects off the surf, you could imagine what it must have been like to see Jesus Christ walking on the water.
Some commentators feel that "no more sea" in Rev. 21 refers to the absence of political and national divisions rather than to no more beach. But either way, we can be assured that the beauty and splendor will be beyond our imagination.
Thanks as always for sharing your experience and Scripture insights. God bless,