Day four. Each morning of my vacation I woke with anticipation of conversing with My Father by the sea, and this morning was no different.
I dressed quietly, while everyone else was sleeping, and headed out to the sand. I felt invigorated after yesterday’s inspirational discovery of olive shells and understanding. I began walking in the same direction as the day before, hoping to find the same fertile shell bed. I didn’t have a specific agenda for the day’s conversation. I simply wanted to know that He was there and to spend time with Him.
Approaching the place where, the morning prior, I had found such a large treasure – I began to sift through the sands and pieces of shell debris with my toes. Given that each day previous olive shells had, quite literally, appeared before my feet I expected nothing different on this day. But what I found was…… nothing. Not one single olive shell. No pieces. No parts. No wholes. I looked for quite a long time and found absolutely nothing. I walked to the edge of the ocean and let Him know that I just didn’t understand this at. all.
Each day He had shown Himself to me so simply, yet powerfully, with an olive shell (or two) and today there was not one to be found. It was one of those “what’s up with that?” moments. And that’s exactly what I asked Him. “You’ve been with me every time that I have walked in the mornings. You’ve talked to me and I’ve been fascinated with olive shells every single time. So what about today? Why am I not finding any?”
I was reminded of a Catalyst podcast that I had listened to the afternoon before. It told a story of a Native American rain-maker who – every single time that he did his rain dance – it rained. When asked how this was, he responded “I dance until the rain comes”. The entirety of the message focused on persevering until the answer comes. I heard Him ask: “Are you willing to persevere?” Just that one little question… again. “Are you willing to persevere?”
I stood still as the waters covered my feet. I was determined that I was not going to move on until I had my answer… until I found my olive shell… until He proved that He was with me. And so I stood. My feet were gradually descending into the sand. “Are you willing to be patient? To wait for the answer even if gets uncomfortable? Painful? Will you persevere ‘until it rains’?” These are the questions that were resonating in my mind and heart.
My feet had sunk so far that they had reached large broken pieces of shells that were buried – and it was uncomfortable. I was sunburned and the sun was completing it’s rise to my left – the burning rays were painful. The waves were getting deeper as the tides were coming in, their currents making me waver in my stance, but still I stood. I would not move until He brought me an olive shell.
I’m not sure how long I stood there. I’m sure that it was a strange sight for those who were walking all around and playing in the waves. This woman who stood unmoving in the waters and did not speak aloud but seemed to be listening. I stood until He spoke to me to turn.
As I turned towards the sun – that agonizingly painful, burning sun – I looked ahead at a bare patch of sand and was encouraged to walk there. My mind was arguing. Yesterday I had found a plethora of olives scattered among the expansive patches of broken vessels and shells, and now I was walking towards bare sand and expecting to find something? And there it was.
One. One olive shell, all alone in the sand.
I turned and walked back to the room wondering how often I had given up early. How often had I turned the other way, because of my impatience, and missed the answer that was right around the corner? How many times had I stopped pursuing something because I could no longer see the possibility of it? How many times had I looked and seen nothing that I expected, mistook it for barrenness, and walked away from what HIS best was for me? I’m sure more times than I would care to know.
I added one more olive shell to my collection that day. An olive shell that reminds me to persevere… to be patient. And to dance until it rains!