I am not a “beachy” person, and spending hours at the seaside, lounging in the sand, just isn’t my cup of tea. I’m in the minority in my family, however. My husband loves to laze in the sand, and my boys like nothing better than to build sand castles, swim, look for shells, collect crabs, and to do the host of other things that beaches are good for. Needless to say, every summer finds me spending days at this dreaded place.
Over the years, I’ve tried to determine just what it is that I dislike so much about the beach. Initially I figured it was the basic boredom of having nothing to do. With this in mind, I began taking a good book or a cross-stitch kit with me. I quickly learned however, that although these activities are okay for awhile, the hot sun usually gives me a headache, my legs cramp up from sitting too long, and my boys ALWAYS comes by and accidentally (or otherwise!) showers me with sand!
Okay. Maybe it isn’t just the boredom that I dislike at the beach. Maybe it’s also the basic inactivity. With this theory in mind, I set out to try and resolve the problem. First I tried going for walks, but I soon realized that sand is awful to walk in. You use up three times as much energy as you should, and going just a short distance leaves you exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of using up energy; but after I’ve done so, I want to have something to show for it! I tried building sandcastles next, only to discover that I didn’t like the feel of sand under my fingernails. When I allowed myself to be buried in the sand, I learned that under my fingernails isn’t the ONLY place I don’t like sand! I equally despise it in my hair, my pockets, and between my toes! Naturally I tried swimming, but wet skin and bathing suits are sand magnets, and since I don’t like sand under my nails, in my hair, and . . . Well, you get the picture!
As you can imagine, I’m always more than a little relieved to leave this place. However, even as the seaside disappears into the distance, beach-related hassles still continue to haunt me. For example, have you ever noticed that there is absolutely no way to get all of the sand off of human bodies and clothing before leaving the beach? Yet it seems to have NO problems whatsoever coming off once you’re INSIDE the car! And getting sand out of the car upholstery is every harder than getting it out of your hair! Then there’s the sand-covered beach towels that have to be dealt with. The sand will only come off in the washer—all over whatever other unsuspecting clothing you have in the tub at the same time! And the next “bother” is getting the sand out of the shower after the grand “clean-up” . . .
Yes, I don’t care for the inactivity, the boredom or the hot sun, but could it be that my primary problem with the beach is simply that I don’t like . . . SAND?
Fortunately for me, beach days are long gone for the season, and instead of sand, I now have snow to deal with. I was out for my run yesterday morning, just as the first snow of several weeks was falling, and I found myself running on about an inch of the fresh, white stuff. Slip, squish, slide . . . “Hey!” I thought. “This is as bad as running on sand!”
A city truck sped by a few minutes later. It was one of those that spreads salt and sand on the roads so that they aren’t too slippery, and this particular one was spreading sand. As soon as it had passed, my feet inadvertently moved to the middle of the road, the part that had just been sanded. I was thoroughly enjoying my new-found ability to run on snow without slipping when I suddenly realized what I was doing! I was PURPOSEFULLY running on . . . SAND!
The idea left me in total amazement. Here was someone who avoided sand at ALL COSTS, running down the MOST-SANDED part of the road!
This experience brought the words of Romans 8:28 to my mind: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” (HCSB) Given the choice, we all try to avoid trials. When we can’t (which is usually the case!), we get stressed out by them. However, often times when we look back on those same trials, we can see where God has used them to strengthen us and to help us grow. If we keep our hearts open to God, even the most bothersome trial can be used by Him to our ultimate benefit, and we can end up being just as thankful for our trials as I was for that sand!
Lord, help us to trust You enough to believe that our “sand” will someday be used to Your glory!
In His love,