The necklace had been sitting on a chair... which was then moved as the tide came in and, somewhere along the way, his necklace (a cross from all the way back in 8th grade, when he got it as a gift from someone special) became part of the sand. By the time we noticed it, it was nearly high tide.
We ran down to the beach, fell to our knees, and began combing the sand with our fingers. Methodically, we raked the beach in patterns - combing in quadrants of straight lines.
My cousin and I had almost given up - he thanked us for helping and looked defeated. Suddenly, my brother - who had, as we planned, been combing his quadrant - felt inclined to give up and move to another spot. It had called to him and he thought, hey, I should go check over there...
A few seconds later, he called out... I found it! And then, not thirty seconds later, the tide reached that area of the beach and the very spot where the necklace was residing was submerged in water. The necklace would have been claimed by the sea.
Sometimes, God is subtle. And then, sometimes, in moments like that, He decides to be blatantly obvious. It wasn't a needle in a haystack -- but it was a cross on a beach of sand. A cross that was somehow buried two inches down and yet still managed to get snagged by my brother's fingers (and only when he broke from our methodical scavenger pattern and felt called to a random spot).
Sand can be a scary thing. When I was a baby, it terrified me. The fact that it was always moving had me convinced it could swallow me up. Being at the beach and experiencing moments like these remind me of a story I've commonly heard about footsteps in the sand...
One night I had a dream. I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, only one set of footprints appeared in the sand. I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of my life. I questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that you would walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most difficult times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me." The Lord replied, "My precious child, I love you and would never leave you during your times of trials and suffering. When you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."If you've never read that before just now, I'm sure it touched you. But, yes, I recognize that a lot of you have read this before, and have probably done so many times. I think of the recent moments in my life during which only one set of footprints have been visible - moments of stress, anxiety, or confusion. Once upon a time, these were the moments that kept me up at night... that is, until, one day, I read Psalm 4:8. Since then, whenever I feel a sleepless night coming, I repeat this verse to myself until I fall asleep. I've even started singing it sometimes. :)
8In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. -PSALM 4:8
We all experience moments during which we are carried through confusion or difficulty by our Lord. In those moments, is there any scripture, in particular, that brings comfort? What verses impact your heart most deeply?