All my stresses and worries were smaller than one of those grains of sand that I was standing on.
- Jim Shempert
Have you ever felt like you have come to the end of your rope when work, church, and life, in general, has pushed you to the end of the line? Every adult has faced that pain at some point. After a long summer supporting a family member’s fight with cancer, rebuilding a church, welcoming a new preacher, and all the stresses that life can bring, my family finally decided to go on vacation. We all talked about the need to take a breath, and enjoy a moment of nothingness.
In tow with us, was my 3-year-old. Though the big folks were exhausted, that girl had grand visions of sand castles and playing in the ocean. Since I’m wrapped around her finger, all she had to do was say “come play Daddy” and off we went.
God never ceases to teach us. Since I have been a father, I find that He teaches me most through my daughter. I find the father/child relationship clearly defined and am able to see the relationship that God has with us. I see the tantrums that she has, and as mad as she gets at me, I never lose the deep love I have for her.
A whisper from God came during an early morning trip to the beach. Since our vacation came after everyone had gone back to school, we had the beach largely to ourselves. We sat down where the surf would hit our feet. After multiple questions about birds, crabs, boats, and other things, her line of questioning came into focus around the waves that were breaking at her feet.
She asked, “How many waves are in the ocean.” I told her that the waves were not able to be counted. Her next question was, ‘What would happen if the ocean ran out of waves?” I told her that was impossible that after each wave, another would come. After that another, and on and on. There is no end to the ocean, and I think that is what draws folks to it: the ability to see something far greater than themselves.
In that exchange with my daughter, I heard the still small voice whisper, “Is My grace not bigger than this ocean?” If I am being honest, I was tired. Fulfilling all my responsibilities of daily life had left me in a spiritual valley. Being a husband, dad, choir member, Wednesday night teacher, youth volunteer, IT Director, etc., had left me without vitality. A car can still run on fumes, but the end is coming.
Sitting at the edge of the ocean, God’s message to me was not one of “press on” but of realization of my smallness in His grand scheme of things. All my stresses and worries were smaller than one of those grains of sand that I was standing on.
Romans 8 tells me of a guarantee that is far better than the FDIC:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, he also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified (Romans 8:26-30).
Stress and worry had taken me away from the real Source of my strength. I was exhausted. I had forgotten that it is not under my own power that I operate, but by God’s grace I draw breath each day.
Have you have felt like that? Maybe you have more month than money, are out of work, or are dealing with sick family members. Whatever life is throwing at you at the moment, you can have confidence in a Savior who said that He would never leave you nor forsake you. Later in that same chapter of Romans, Paul says:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
The David Crowder Band puts that powerful truth like this:
“And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.”