I really love the beach! I love hunting for shells. In the first 4 years after we retired to Florida, I had collected so many shells, I didn’t know what to do with them! I had them in baskets and in containers, on shelves and around mirrors; just about everywhere you could look in our house. They’re so beautiful and diverse, I see God’s divine hand in their creation! I spent hours walking up and down the shore, picking up all the most beautiful, perfect shells.
I always throw down any broken shells I find. Sometimes, I can’t tell they’re broken right away, because only half of the shell sticks up out of the sand. So I pick it up, only to see its brokenness. Eww! Then, I toss that one away!
If I only see a shell from the back, sometimes I’m fooled. I’ll turn it over and see ugly colors, or no color at all. When just a little part of it looks good, it’s of no use to me! When sand and dirt covers them, it’s hard to tell the difference between the perfect ones and the broken ones. I pick them up, look them over, pick and choose, until I have a perfect batch to bring home to put on display in my home.
The best ones are often caught up under the rocks in the water where the surf breaks. All you see through the debris and seaweed is just the tiny tip of a shell sticking out. When I’ve retrieved it, I can’t believe my eyes at what I’ve found! That’s where the biggest and best shells are, where no one else has gone before me.
My husband seeks the biggest and best shells by actually wading waist deep in the water to scoop them out with his golf ball finder. It’s difficult and time-consuming, but he always comes out victorious, he has perseverance.
Which shells get broken? The fragile, lightweight sand dollars, for instance, get churned up in the waves and it’s really hard to find them intact. The sturdy, strong shells don’t break as easily, but still a lot of them get crushed in the surf and shattered on the beach. Sometimes the shell isn’t broken at all, just surrounded by broken shell pieces, dirt, sand, and other debris. You must take the time to look at each shell individually.
The reason I don’t pick up the broken shells is that I can’t fix them. They’ll just stay broken and useless to me, because I can’t see a use for them in the condition they’re in now. There’s no future for them with me. But what if I was the “Broken Shell Repair Man?” Then? Oh, now we’re talkin’! I’d bring them all home. I’d take the time to soak them and clean them to get all the dirt and smell off them. Shells often smell like something died in them. I’d make them look shiny and new again. Then I’d find many uses for them. Wow! I’d love and want them all, so I’d need to scoop them up with a shovel, there’s so many of them and they’re so heavy. I’d have to load them up in a truck and cart them home to repair them.
But that’s not possible, I didn’t create them, so I can’t fix them.
Lately, I’ve been seeing potential in the less than perfect shells. If a shell has a hole in it, for instance, I could string several of them together and make a beautiful, colorful necklace. I wouldn’t even need a drill. So now I’m looking for shells with a defect, a little hole or opening that I can use. After collecting all the perfect ones over the years, I’m now looking for the ones that are a little different, a little unique in size or shape or color, with a different crack, mark, or blemish.
Every day and at every beach it’s different when it comes to shelling. Some days there’s nothing, other days there are mounds of shells. Sometimes they’re along the shoreline glistening in the water and sunlight. At other times, they’re stacked up by the rocks all broken, piled on top of each other, fading in the sun, washed up on the sand, and stepped on and cracked.
Brokenness happens in nature…and in the spiritual realm, also. Fragile lives get broken. The waves of life churn us up and toss us to and fro. We’re bound to get broken. Even the sturdy lives can bend in the sea of trials. Society tries to crush us; it’s difficult to stay intact. Without warning, we’re shattered.
God wants us to see what He sees when He looks at broken lives. He is the “Broken Lives Repair Man.” He can go out into the deep water and persevere to rescue those of us in deep trouble, caught up on the rocks covered with dirt and debris…when we’re cracked and people have stepped on us, and over us, our whole lives. God can fix broken lives and He can find an awesome use for each one, even when our dreams are shattered. When we don’t look good, or we don’t think we’re good enough, God is searching for broken lives to mend, and we should be looking for them, too!
People have gotten caught up in the sand, rocks, debris, and seaweed of life. They’ve been tossed up on the beach and are fading the sun. Hunt for them, get in the sunlight and look at them from every angle. Look under the debris and find them. Look at the little piece of goodness showing out from the dirt in their lives and take them to Jesus. He can fix them. Let His Living Waters wash over them and clean them up. Let the “Son” Light make them shine again. He’ll put their broken lives back together and use them in the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes a person’s life isn’t broken, but others around them are, and they get discouraged. All they need is a godly person to encourage them to do what they already know is right, even when the people around them lead broken lives. The broken people around them can’t point the way. You can step in, pick them up, and take them to the “Broken Lives Repair Man.”
Do you hear the awful crunching sound of all the broken lives being stepped on around you? Ask the Holy Spirit to make your ears sensitive to the sound. Do you see their brokenness and pain? Pick them up. You know they can’t pick themselves up. Dust them off, bring them to Jesus, so they can be made whole and be used in His Kingdom. Holy Spirit, help us to hear the magnificent sound that whole, unbroken lives make to the ears of our Lord.
As the Church, we act like they should come to us whole. How can they be whole if they don’t know the “Broken Lives Repair Man?” Something’s missing in their lives. It’s Jesus. They’re broken when they don’t know Him. They can’t fix themselves! They need only Him. Often, we get weary of all their brokenness. It seems like a heavy burden to us. Broken lives are heavy, there’s lots of baggage, lots of issues. Don’t try to fix their lives on your own, just bring them to Jesus!
Church, let’s pick them up, and bring them to the “Broken Lives Repair Man.” The One who repaired us, when we were broken. The One who continually seeks to use us even in our weaknesses. He will repair them and use them in His plan. If we’re the Church, the Body of Christ, we need to go out into the world to hunt for broken lives along all the shores. All over the world. We’re His hands, His feet, and His love. We can love, we can teach, we can disciple. Don’t pick and choose and toss someone back just because they don’t look like us or act like us, we’re not perfect either. Don’t judge. Just pick them all up.
Don’t give yourself the job of fixing them, only God can do that. You can’t fix the broken shells and you can’t fix the broken lives. But, God can. If they’re broken, see a use for them just as Jesus does, see through Jesus’ eyes. Speak truth in their lives, speak blessing, speak encouragement, and let God’s Holy Spirit change faded, broken, and shattered lives.
He’s going to repair them and make a beautiful, perfect display with all those once broken lives. It’s called, His Glorious Church.
“I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.” Psalms 31:12 KJV
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalms 51:17 KJV
“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3 KJV
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15:13 KJV (Happiness makes you smile; sorrow can crush you.” Proverbs 15:13 CEV)