We recently went on a vacation to Myrtle Beach for the sole purpose of experiencing some peace for a few days. Life, the past few years, has been anything but peaceful and we determined that we were going to escape for as many days as we could afford this year so that our shoulders could, once again, assume their God-given position instead of being drawn up to our ears from the stress and strains of work, family, bills, etc.
While there, I met with God each day by the seashore and we had a talk. And by talk I do not mean a pious sounding pontification of Thees/Thous and forced thanksgiving from my lips. I mean a talk. Raw and real. During these talks, every day, God spoke to me through an Olive Shell. And each day, my peace increased as he used something so small to teach me – or rather remind me of – so many huge truths.
Day one. We had arrived at the beach before lunch time and, after unpacking and getting settled in, I stripped off my shoes and headed to walk by the ocean and simply breathe. As I was walking I was telling My Father how much I needed to know that He is still there. I was thankful for the large dark-lensed sunglasses because there were tears running down my cheeks as I was saying “I just can’t seem to find my way back to You… to where I used to be with You”. On this barren shell-less stretch of sand, there was an olive shell directly in front of me. Whole and undamaged. I picked it up, walked a little farther, and then turned to go back to my hotel. I was satisfied that He was going to meet with me because I am not fascinated by, or attracted to many types of sea shells. However, miniatures and olive shells I am. And this My Father knows.
Later that afternoon, when the tides were coming in, I decided to go for another walk… the other direction. And, again, I was having a honest talk with Him. Rather, I was asking Him some (to me) pretty tough questions. The lyrics to My Redeemer Lives by Nicole C Mullen came to mind: Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning? Who told the ocean “you can only come this far”? I stood at the edge of the ocean and felt it’s power and strength while marveling that it is restricted only by the power of His words. While meditating on these things, one by one, 3 olive shells washed up onto the shore. I collected them through tear-filled eyes and returned to the room for dinner.
Coincidences may be how many would explain away the olive shells. I would vehemently disagree. God… Our Father… knows what speaks to us, what moves us, what helps us. He is so much more creative in His communication than we expect Him to be. In scripture He led His people with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He spoke through His prophets, through a gentle whisper, through a burning bush, through dreams, and even through an ass. He hasn’t changed. Even today God is continuously communicating with us. We just may not always be listening… or paying attention.
He spoke to me through an olive shell. How is He speaking to you… right now?