The beach is made of sand. Anybody knows that. What difference does a single grain make?
It seems that depends on where it is. When you eat a bowl of clam chowder on the coast, when the clams are very fresh and not out of a can, you will find a grain of sand now and then in your soup.
If you spend the day frolicking by the sea, you may find a grain or a few in some uncomfortable places. And if you find a grain of sand inside an oyster after it’s been there for a good while, you may be very excited indeed.
A grain of sand by itself is, for the most part, insignificant. It is blown around by the wind and thrown every which way. It is tracked along by people or animals. It has not enough weight to stay put.
But when you gather a few billion of those grains, it can withstand the great crashing waves of the sea.
On our last morning at the Oregon coast, my wife and I wanted to steal away for a last brief walk. It was our most windy experience of the week as the scattered raindrops and loose sand were blowing in a stinging combination. It was less exfoliating and more irritating than I would have expected.
But I noticed the sand that was not wet from the surf was blowing in waves, almost mimicking the sea. But these loose grains continued to be thrown farther and farther along the strand.
I have seen many people whose lives reflect the reality of that loose sand. They are carried along and thrown about by forces they cannot predict or resist. Sorrows and struggles come along, as they do for us all, and they are thrown to bitter extremes of hatred and blame and self-pity.
But there at the water’s edge, the sand that is continually moistened and pressed together by the surf holds together, shares the weight, endures the storm and the waves and the winds. It is something vastly greater, exponentially stronger, indescribably more enduring, and nearly immovable when packed in together.
So… I wonder…
Are we like grains of sand, you and I? In some way, I think we are. When we isolate ourselves and fail to connect with others, we are destined to be carried off with every wind of this life. This is especially true for those who do not know Jesus. Without this most important of relationships, we have no anchor point for our lives.
But for those who know Jesus, we have the most glorious gift of God’s very presence within us as we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit. This is much like the moisture that enables the sand to stick together, that binds these billions of individual grains into something so much more significant.
Connected and packed together by the Spirit, we are stronger, more secure, more enduring than we could ever possibly be alone.
As the angry surf beats upon us and the waves of destruction press fiercely, we stand together, enduring, upholding, gathering more and more grains to join us, providing a firm footing for the hope that we represent.
So… are you like the loose grains of sand being blown about by life? Or are you closely connected with others, held together by the moistening of the Spirit, vastly more enduring than you could be all alone?