I hate to burst the bubble of those who think following God is a somber affair. But I will. Because I simply love the fact that Father makes me smile and even giggle when He shows up in the middle of my life.
In keeping with the line from the children’s song God Knows About Everything, I continue to be reminded that: “He knows what I think before I think it.”
Walking along the ocean’s shore yesterday, this truth was reinforced in a personal way. While I love the joy that comes with discovering all manner of shells and sea creatures, by far, my favorite findings are sand dollars. There’s something about their delicate frame that fills me with wonder, and when one breaks open to spill forth the contents of porcelain-like doves hidden within its depths, I’m reminded of the peace that God nestles deep within the core of my spirit.
The first day of vacation, God allowed me to find a solitary dollar hidden in the sand. The second day, another. The third day, there was yet another lying in wait for me. As I rounded the sand bar on the fourth day, I found myself thinking, “Well, God, I’m assuming there’s one out here for me again. Not that I believe You owe me anything. But because You’re my Father, I guess I’ve come to expect that You will bless me with it. I hope that’s okay.”
The words were still processing themselves through my mind when I looked down and saw a white sand dollar lying at my feet. And as if to just outdo Himself, there was another resting nearby. I smiled and gratefully scooped them both into my hands while thinking, “Thanks, God. But You know… the small-sized ones are my favorites.” And once again, on the tail-end of my thoughts, I glanced down to see a small, dainty sand dollar resting in the waves. A few feet ahead, there was another equally small treasure.
I love when God does things like that. Shows off, I mean. As if to remind me that He is always beyond my expectations. A bit larger than I think He will be in my life. Going further than my tiny desires. Challenging me to trust him bigger. To believe for more. Not in a selfish manner, but in an I-believe-You-are-far-more-capable-than-I-give-You-credit-for manner. All to grow me in my faith and cause me to praise Him for the sheer wonder of His greatness. To thank Him for the joy of His presence in my ordinary moments. To acknowledge that He is much more aware of me than I imagine. Even down to the fact that He knows what I think before I think it.
He knows. And He chooses to meet me in the midst of my desires.
The simple sand dollar wishes of my heart.
I continued my walk with songs of praise cast upon ocean waves, words and melody pouring forth from a heart overwhelmed by the goodness of a God who is not only my Savior, but my Friend. A Father who delights in sharing my thoughts and providing for my childlike fancies, just to prove that He is listening. That he cares about the things which bring joy to my days.
Retracing my steps back along the sand bar, I wasn’t really expecting to find any more sand dollars where my feet had already tread. Or maybe I was. Because I did. Two more treasures nestled in grains of sand beneath the receding tide. And just in case I missed His awareness, Father drew my attention to the dry beach several yards inland where others’ feet had passed mere minutes before my own.
Shining white in the summer sunshine, there was another sand dollar glistening atop the surface. And another.
I could no longer contain my laughter. The giggles bubbled to the surface as I acknowledged Father’s not-so-subtleness. Hidden in plain sight. Making it obvious for these finite eyes to view eternity’s appearance in my temporal surroundings.
I’m thankful for these moments. These times when God is so utterly present. Releasing treasures one after the other, as I scurry to scoop them up as fast as I can.
These moments bring more than just a few seconds of joy. They become memorials erected in the recesses of my mind, tucked away for those times when His hand is not so easily seen.
These sand dollar wishes are not swept away with stormy gales, but become building blocks of faith in the foundation of all I believe. Treasures kept, to be pulled out and cherished when life happens and circumstances are not all sunshine and gentle ocean currents.
It’s almost comical that something so delicate and fragile as a sand dollar can become something so strong and enduring in my life.
But perhaps that’s the miracle of faith itself – when something as fragile as my belief in a God who knows me from the inside-out becomes the bedrock of all that I build my life upon.
A faith that steadies itself in the fanciful sand dollar wishes of my heart.How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. ~ Psalm 139:17-18a