We were at the beach this weekend, just a few days after Hurricane Isaac passed through.  The weather was mostly sunny but the beach showed signs of recent ravage.  It was covered in layers of seaweed and all sorts of other “treasures” churned up by an angry sea.  We saw an assortment of old boat pieces, crumbled sand dollars, shells of all sizes, interesting plant life, broken sunglasses, driftwood, and even a kitchen sink.  Our family had a blast digging through it all and trying to imagine where the life of these items began.

The most interesting treasure to me was the myriad of unique driftwood.  I was captivated by it.  Each piece is all its own – some with hundreds of tiny holes, some smooth as a stone, some a home to baby crabs, some mangled, some flat…each absolutely beautiful.  I’ve had a fascination with driftwood for a few years now and have collected small pieces to fill some bowls and vases at home but I’ve never seen the huge chunks brought in by a hurricane’s power.  I lugged in pieces so dense and heavy that I could carry only one at a time.  I even talked my precious husband into snagging a 100 pound piece for us that is amazingly beautiful.

So what’s the deal with me and driftwood?  Whenever I see it, I think of people and the story God is writing for each of us.  Every time I pick up a new driftwood treasure, I study it and wonder about its story.  Where did it begin?  What object was it originally?  How long has it been drifting in the ocean?  What are the heights and the depths of God’s creation it has seen?  How many and what strength of storms has it weathered?  All I can see is its breath-taking beauty, most likely created from a life of severe weathering and testing.

I guess that’s what makes me think of people.  I wonder the same questions about every person I meet.  What is their story?  Some of us have weathered beauty-producing storms or loss.  Some of us have yet to realize the beauty out of our trials.  Some of us are still drifting, waiting to experience the heights and depths of God.  The mercy of it all is that, for those in God’s family, our story ends in beauty.  Isaiah 61:3 says that God makes beauty even out of ashes.  Regardless of where we are in our journey, our Maker sees us as that “finished” driftwood, displaying His glorious beauty.

I love to think of His tender care as He guides me through the ocean of my life.  He knows the exact moment that I need a storm to break off my dangerously rough edges.  He knows the intensity of the current needed to smooth those broken places.  He knows when I need to see and experience depths and sometimes darkness.  He knows when I need to float near the surface and soak in His light.  And to His eternal praise, He knows how all these things will reveal His beauty, as He has always intended to display through me and each of His children.

Lord, give me more trust in You as You masterfully orchestrate the journey of my life.  Give me your eyes to enjoy the beauty You are creating in those around me.  Let me love others at their exact stage in their journey, believing in your perfect love and plan for them.  Thank you for your beauty displayed in something as simple as driftwood.  Amen