While Gulf Coast shells put our West Coast seashells to shame, they have nothing on our rocks.
Today my youngest fella joined me for a ladies’ brunch on the Coast. As a thank you for his brave foray into the adult world, I took him down to the beach for a bit. I was picturing a long stroll on the beach, but we did not make it more than 20 feet, thanks to the incredible collection of rocks that had tumbled in on the tide.
Being a rock collector, my guy had hit jackpot. I told him to pick out one, a favorite, to bring home for his collection. An impossible task.
Every other minute, he would stop and scream with joyful urgency, “Mom, mom, mom, mom…You have to come here and see this one.” At which point, I would pick up his “favorite rock” and hold it. A minute later, the scenario would repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
We ended up having to stop every five minutes to deposit his favorite rocks onto our beach blanket. When I asked him to par it down a bit, he simply couldn’t. Each rock had an explanation. “But this one is so reddish. And this one has sparkles. And this one looks like the Earth.”
When I seriously tried to reduce our pile, he nearly cried at the thought of leaving even one of them. Looking at his pile of favorites, I could find no pattern, no rhyme or reason. Some were huge and heavy, others were small and slight. To be honest, most looked utterly nondescript and normal. Yet they had his affection. And they had to be his.
As always happens when I slow down and pay attention in parenting (especially when in nature), the Lord used this morning to show me a tangible example of His love.
As a rock, I tend to feel the need to stand out from the rest of the rocks or to feel lost and nondescript when I don’t. There are just so many rocks. How can I be seen or known? Why would anyone choose me for their special treasure?
In Deuteronomy 7, we are clearly told why God set His love upon the tribe of Israel, one little pebble on a coast of ubiquitous rocks.
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:6-9.
He set His love on Israel because He loved Israel, not because she was lovable or unique or extraordinary. In fact, they were an underwhelming people to say the least. He loved them because He loved them. He set His love on them in hesed love, and He would not remove it, even when they rejected him, ignored him, spurned him.
Peter, the pebble-rock upon whom Christ decided to build His church, understood this kind of unmerited, just-because-God-chose-to-love-me kind of love. It is interesting that later, in one of his letters to the Church, the New Israel, he harkens back to Deuteronomy.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2: 9.
Pete recognized that, as the New Israel, we are His people because He set His love on us in and through Christ.
Christ, the cornerstone, was rejected so that a random pile of ordinary rocks could be made into a living Temple for the praise and glory of God (Psalm 118:22 and 1 Peter 2:5).
I am on His blanket. I was chosen from the shoreline of sin, plucked up, cleaned up and carried by His precious and powerful punctured hands to join His treasured collection.
Oh, how I long to continually re-experience the wonder that I am His, not because I stood out or performed well or merited anything, but rather, because I am His.