by Shonda Bush

Yesterday, John, Anna and I spent the afternoon enjoying the beach. We played in the water, built a sand castle, and walked alongside the surf. While we were there, we collected seashells to use in our castle creation. As John and I looked for shells, we were drawn to the shells that were whole, without any cracks or defects. We found the beauty of the shell in its perfect shape and color. However, as Anna searched, she would discover amazing patterns and colors in broken shells. At first it was difficult for me to see the beauty in the broken piece that she showed me, because all I noticed was that it was broken. But as I gazed at the piece, I would identify the beauty that she had noticed in the oddly shaped object.

How thankful I am that Jesus didn’t come to the earth to save perfect people. When God is looking for people to follow Him, He isn’t searching for people with no imperfections, complete and whole. He sees the beauty in us despite our failings and inadequacies. He calls to us, and picks us up, and equips us daily. He isn’t looking for perfection; He promises that he will carry the good work he began in us on to completion until the day Christ Jesus returns. He showers His grace upon us and rejoices when we focus on His righteousness and allow His love to abound in us.

While we were walking down the beach, Anna discovered a beautiful bluish, gray shell lying in the sand. It’s most distinguishing characteristic was the substantial hole right in the center of it. She bent down to inspect it and carefully moved the sand around it to assess the damaged shell. Protectively picking up the chosen shell, she carried it back to the sandcastle, where this preferred shell worked to make our creation more pleasing to behold.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God imputes us with Jesus’ perfect righteousness. While we were once unfit for heaven, He makes heaven our home. We were once unclean, however, He washes us as white as snow. Paul exhorts us in Romans, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” As a child of God, God wants you, accepts you, and desires that you know this. And even more, He doesn’t leave us broken on the beach, he equips us with His love so that we may love others and show them the same mercy he has shown to us.

So, the next time you find a broken seashell, let it inspire you to share God’s abundant love and grace with others.