A less-than-ideal walk on the beach provided a picture of truth
“The accommodations could be better,” the man said to me as we crossed paths in the predawn light.
We were both out for a sunrise walk on the beach, except there wasn’t much beach available. The tide was exceptionally high this morning, making us search for dry footing on what is usually an expansive coastline.
Over the years, I had said hello to this faithful walker on these early-morning jaunts at my favorite vacation place. He had gotten a bit more feeble and now gripped a pole in each hand to accompany him as he walked.
Except that today, it seemed less like walking and more like hiking. We had to find paths around the debris and the incoming waves scalloping onto the shores. The water was creeping all the way to the sand dunes.
During low tide, the beaches here are as wide as a football field is long. But this was a particularly high tide, and so I walked in the soft sand reserved for cars where it was still dry or timed my way across the wet sand, dodging incoming waves.
A good day for a bad walk
My fellow walker was right. The accommodations could have been better.
But I had awakened with a terrible sore throat and so really wasn’t up for a hefty workout anyway. The tide forced me to take it slow, breathe, and enjoy my surroundings. I contented myself with noticing: the colorful sunrise, the antics of the sea birds, the froth lacing the churning waves dancing across the beach, driven by the wind.
But as I paused I noticed a tide pool, connected to the ocean by a rivulet. Cut into the sand, maybe four inches deep, the miniature river formed a channel, its bottom crisscrossed with wave-like patterns. In between waves, the water from the tide pool waterfalled through the rivulet to return to the ocean.
But the waves weren’t done. The tide hadn’t peaked. The ocean kept moving, a strong wave and then another moving its boundaries further up the shore. But the rivulet, that small channel in the sand, impacted the flow of the waves.
Instead of their curved push up the coast, the waves that connected with the rivulet folded to fill it, pushing the concentrated load of water up the waterfalled channel to replenish the tide pool. When multiple waves reached it simultaneously, they crossed over each other and, together, focused their energy into that channel toward the tide pool.
The rivulet filled, again and again, the force of the waves pushing the water toward that tide pool. The rivulet deepening in the process. I realized I was watching a spiritual lesson.
This was what I learned
A couple of years ago, I had written that I wanted to be a “conduit for God’s love.” I had been responding to a timed question and that word — which means “a channel for conveying water” — flowed onto my page. Could I be a conduit for Living Water? The rivulet — impacting the force and direction of the waves — seemed a picture of that.
Even though it was a relatively small stream, by its very nature it caused the waves to hesitate and pour more of themselves into that area instead of spreading out all over the beach. That pouring filled the rivulet, which carried water to the tide pool, reaching farther up the beach and lingering longer than the waves did elsewhere.
“That could be me,” I thought. “I can be a rivulet, directing the waves of God’s love toward other people. I can help direct it so that it reaches those who are farther away from His ocean of love. Give them the opportunity to be touched by Him.
“I can be a stream — that conduit I wanted to be — for God’s love to stream to others.”
And so can you.
Jesus did say, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38, NIV). Flow, river, flow.
To be clear, that rivulet didn’t make itself. The ocean formed it, filled it, and flowed through it. May God use us, too.
How has God created you so He can fill and flow through you to share your gifts with others? Do that. As songwriter/singer and all-around-star Dolly Parton said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” For God’s purpose and glory, I would add.
Yes, the accommodations for walking could have been better this morning, but the accommodations for understanding what God can do through me, through us? Beautiful! (And punctuated by a glowing sunrise.)
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