As part of my pre-marital counseling I remind Prince Charming and Cinderella that each comes into their marriage as damaged goods. Their reaction to this bit of wisdom is a stunned look of shock saying, “Not me! Not us!” Those in denial before marriage accept the veracity of my counsel long before their first anniversary.
Even the best life comes with bad days, difficulties, and painful events which radically shape and change us forever. These events become the dings, dents, and bruises, or as some say baggage which we carry with us either forever or at least until that future time when that which was broken has been healed and no longer hurts or causes us pain when touched.
Amazing Grace, one of the most popular hymns in the Christian Church, recognizes this reality: “… I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see… through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come …”
This hymn celebrates how we have been healed and made whole by the grace, work, and Word of God through Jesus. In doing so, it recognizes that each of us is in constant need of restoration and healing. It is part and parcel of living.
Yesterday Rori and I returned home after spending 3 weeks at the beach. It was time for us to leave because the community of Jacksonville Beach was in the middle of a sand replenishment project, which had finally reach the strand of sand in front of our condo.
When my parents first purchased this condo the waves would crash against the beach bulkhead at high tide. To reach the sand, you had to walk down a flight of 13 wet concrete steps. Both property and body were at risk of being irretrievably damaged by the waves and water.
Shortly after they purchased the condo the beach community embarked on a new project to replenish the sand along the beach and creating a dune line to protect the beach and properties along the beach. Now, the peak of high tide, gets no closer than 15 feet to the bulkhead. Better yet, the lower 11 steps to the beach are now buried beneath sand. the beach has been reclaimed.
However, this is never a one-and-done project. In time, the waves and surf erode away the sand and carry it out to sea. Thus, every 3 years, the beach community replenishes the sand on the beach, by adding four feet of sand in the area extending 20 yards in front of the man-made dune line.
By doing this, the Jacksonville beaches remain one of the best in our nation and the homes, condos, and businesses along the beach are protected from the erosive powers of high tide, northeasters, and hurricanes.
Our lives mimic the sand along the beach. The daily and natural order of life erode our spirit and our foundation, leaving us vulnerable. Each of us is in need of replenishment and healing. It is work we cannot do by ourselves. We are in need of God’s grace, His Word, His power, and His touch to be healed, to be restored, and and to return to wholeness.
If you are trying to go it alone, I encourage you to let God work healing in your life. Or, as the hymn Amazing Grace proclaims: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. … T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace, my fears relieved.”
John 3:16 tells the story of how God has reclaimed us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Thus, the title of this blog, Reclamation 316.