A dozen tiny shards of sandy substance sprinkled to the floor as I un-wrapped the tissue paper. My sand dollar, a gift from my dad during a trip to Holland, was destroyed on its journey home. With my 10-year-old heart crushed at having lost my treasure, I told my dad. He hugged me and said he was sorry for my loss.
A few months later, Dad found me one afternoon, playing outside.
“What’s that?” I asked, gesturing to the package in his hand.
“Just something I bought for you today.”
He handed me the brown paper wrapped package. A brilliant white sand dollar lay there, shimmering in the hot June sun.
“Don’t break it,” he said and hugged me.
My treasure was restored that day. I still have the second sand dollar. It’s a symbol of my Dad’s persistent love for me. I wonder how many times we attempt to protect our treasured hopes and dreams, our desires and wants, only to see them dashed. How many times have I run to my heavenly Father, offering Him the shards?
Only the Lord can restore the years the locusts have eaten. He gave Job double blessing after all of his losses. The disciples gathered the fragments that remained after the 5,000 were fed. David wrote in the Psalms, “The LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.”
Our heads hang low. Our eyes are rimmed red. Our plans have gone awry. A divorce happened. A death struck us. Financial turmoil depleted the savings accounts. The job is lost. We feel shattered, yet God is most present during suffering. C.S. Lewis said, of pain, that it is God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
God who sees the sparrows fall, sees all pain. His reply is “I know the plans I have for you—plans to prosper you and bring you peace.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Something awakens in my soul at Jeremiah’s words. My spirit quickens at God’s voice. He promises His peace in exchange for my pieces. My brokenness for His wholeness. My pennies for His treasure. My darkness for His light. My soul longs to be full of this inner light, which comes from His Spirit manifesting itself in me. In 2 Corinthians 4, verse 7, Paul says, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” The treasure is the presence of God.
My hope remains in God. He is the one who is famous for being the Repairer of Broken Walls, a Restorer of Shattered Relationships, and a Giver of Good Things. He created me for more than just brokenness. He wants me whole…as whole as the sand dollar my daddy gave me.