The smell of salt water. The calm sound of the tide rolling in and out in a steady rhythm. The feel of warm sand beneath my feet. The sound of seagulls soaring overhead. The splash of the surf hitting the rocks. Ah, I'm feeling warm and peaceful in my daydream. On cold mornings like today, when the frost covers the ground, thoughts of our trips to the ocean can be a pleasant diversion! When we lived in Florida it was a thirty minute drive to the beaches of the Gulf Coast. What a great way to spend a day off. Personally, my favorite thing to do at the beach is to walk right along the edge of the surf. With the sound of the tides rolling in and out and the waves lapping at my feet, I could walk and walk and walk. I end up walking much farther than I plan to on many occassions. There's just something so peaceful about it and I end up feeling so close to God while I'm there.
Another favorite activity at the beach is looking for beautiful seashells. Sanibel Island is home to some of the best shelling in the world, but you have to get there early to get the best shells before they're snatched up by the professionals. After awhile we began to know which shells were commonplace and which were special. There is even a fabulous shell museum on the island where you can go and see the many types of shells and learn about the life cycle of different shells. You can even hold live shells in a tank. After, attending a field trip there we really began to see how special some shells are and why they are so rare.
So, when I was walking along the ocean one afternoon and I just looked down and there at my feet was a perfect, beautiful banded tulip shell. It felt like a special gift from God! It was my favorite shell at the museum. I've only ever seen two others on subsequent trips and they were both flawed. I still have that shell. For several years it sat on the edge of my kitchen sink so I could admire it daily. Now it is kept in a special jewelry box so I can pull it out and enjoy it every now and then.
Each special shell I find is like a small way of taking the ocean home with me. I can remember the special time with God and the peaceful feelings of just being there at the ocean. For me, it's like the ocean is the strong presence of God and those beautiful shells are a special treasure He reveals, much like the scriptures He has given us. Each verse that jumps to life on the pages of the Bible are those special treasures. Each word that assures me of His love and grace and even His justice have a place in my collection. Each word that I memorize or hang on my refridgerator so I won't forget is like another gleaming, treasured shell. Each verse that transforms me is like the treasured, special shells that get a place of honor in my home and among my keepsakes. God's word is alive and active and truly is a treasure trove of wisdom. So, let's keep digging in to the pages of the Bible and letting God highlight those passages that he wants us to learn to treasure.
Today, let's take time to remember a few of the treasures He has given us in the past from His word. Words that lit your path in times of trouble and darkness. Words that filled you with hope when all hope seemed lost. Words that challenged you to live a more godly life. Words that assured you of His love expressed in human form through Jesus. Words that reminded you that His grace was more than big enough to cover your sin. I'd love it if you would take the time to share one or two of your treasured scriptures with me and the other readers as a comment below. Maybe we'll each find a new treasure as we share. May God bless your treasure hunt!