There is an uncanny peace in the air when you stroll down the beach here in the early morning, especially on Sundays when there aren’t many people out. The sky is a different color, the crashing waves seem less aggressive somehow, and it doesn’t feel like it’s eight thousand degrees outside yet. So it’s pretty nice.
Last Sunday morning, before church, I was taking such a walk when I was struck by the seashells beneath my feet. They were countless; some still intact but most in broken pieces scattered about. I had picked up a cup of coffee from Hoskin’s, the classic hometown diner of NMB, and was carrying the empty styrofoam cup in my hand. Every few feet I walked, I would spot a pretty one that hadn’t been smashed by the ocean and bent over to put it in my empty cup. After a while, I got to thinking that me walking down the shore selecting shells was something like what it might look like on the last day when God looks upon us as a human race. Just as I was only picking up those shells that were unbroken, He’ll look down for people who are whole. Who have been completed by Christ. Just as I was disappointed to see a fragment of a shell that would’ve been beautiful if it weren’t in pieces, He’ll have the same sadness at seeing people He cannot take into His hand on that day.
And if it happened today, it would look a lot like the shore that I walked upon – mostly broken shells.
My reaction to this realization revealed a theme forming throughout my experience here in North Myrtle Beach: that my heart is growing for people who don’t know Jesus. For broken shells that would be left on the beach if God were to walk it today. That compassion, however, is paired with an equally strong excitement for the hope that is offered to us broken shells by the Gospel. That we can be made whole by adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.
This is beautifully described by the opening lines of Hillsong’s Broken Vessels:
All these pieces
Broken and scattered
In mercy gathered
Mended and whole
We often talk of things moving from our head to our hearts. After my time on the beach that Sunday and several other memorable moments this summer, I can say that my understanding of the world’s need for the Gospel and my desire to make it known has gone from my head to my heart.
I am undeserving to be a complete shell. But Christ has made it so, and now I long to see other broken shells made whole, more so with each passing day.