Five years ago, when my family and I had an opportunity for a little bit of vacation, we elected to spend three days in Chincoteague, Virginia. We did so in part because we had never been to the beach as a family but also because we deemed that Chincoteague was a tad bit more family friendly than some of the high paced “touristy” beaches that often feature price-gouging vendors or attract vacationers who are into hard-partying.
Chincoteague was also the featured location of the story, Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry, and had the added bonuses of being between the national wildlife preserve on Assateague Island, and NASA’s original headquarters on Wallops Island. Thus, these islands provided plenty for our family to do and see during our brief stay while still allowing us a peaceful atmosphere for resting emotionally and spiritually.
The two mornings we were there we went out early to the beach and enjoyed the sun as it slowly rose above the eastern horizon. The cool breezes and the gentle sounds of the ocean waves rolling up on to the beach greeted us soothingly as we walked bare-footed on the wet sand, looking for seashells, our children laughing every so often when the ocean water would lap at their feet.
On the first morning, while our kids were distracted, my wife and I “wrote” their names in the wet sand with our feet. Then, when they turned and saw what we had done, they smiled happily as they were reminded of how special they are to us.
After awhile, we became hungry and decided to go and get breakfast, leaving behind their names on the edge of the restless ocean. We had our breakfast and then went exploring (by minivan) the animal preserve on Assateague Island where over one hundred wild ponies still live just as they did in the 1940’s when Marguerite Henry wrote her book. Then, after lunch, we changed our clothes and went back to the beach. Our two youngest sons wondered if their names might still be there (although we had assured them that they would not be). Of course, their names were long gone, washed away by wind and wave, and trampled under the feet of beach goers who had since arrived on the scene.
But that mattered little to them for the beach wasn’t the only place where we had written their names. Daily kindnesses and encouragements let them know that each of them has their name indelibly etched into our hearts. So also has the entrusting of responsibility to them and the accountability that we require of them show them that they are neither a mere “hobby” nor burdensome “duty” to us. Even the boundaries that we set for them remind them that we are more than passive observers of their growing up, but are active participants as mentors, providers, encouragers, and guardians (physically AND spiritually).
Although their parents aren’t perfect, they sense that they are loved and can find comfort in knowing that neither the waves nor winds of circumstances, or even the comings and goings of people throughout life can alter that love.
But there is a far greater love than ours at work in their lives. It is a love that is accessible to anyone whose heart would soften enough to believe and receive it. It is a love that does not grow old or weak no matter how much time passes. It does not wash away even though a thousand years pass by. It certainly is not at the mercy of winds of change or waves of whim. It is a love so powerful and so enduring that even though you might feel lost in the throngs of the human race, one among half a dozen billion people currently alive or in the countless generations since our world began, you are singled out to be set free from bonds of sin, fear, and hopelessness if only you will turn to Him and rest in that love.
I am happy to report that our God does not simply write our names in the wet sands of the seashore, nor even upon granite obelisks that finally succumb to the relentless march of time as eons slowly wear them down. Those whose hearts yield to the saving love of God as revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ, will find their names written upon something that is truly imperishable, subject to neither “chance” nor “change” of mind.
“Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the LORD has forgotten me.’ Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:13-16a NIV).
Though this prophecy was written hundreds of years before Jesus’ crucifixion, it was a clear clarion call of the magnitude of God’s love for you and for me. A pen is not used to write your name upon His flesh, but the cold and cruel nails of the executioner’s cross mark you as God’s own upon His Son’s own hands. Jesus’ blood is the permanent ink that has the power to grant you a place of eternal acceptance in the presence of the Father.
Just think! Once your name has been written upon His hand, no matter what paths your life may lead you, no matter what dark and doubtful moments may come your way, when your eyes open in glory and your spiritual eyes focus upon the Savior, you will see your name written upon His hand; you will see that the love of God is more than words.
This is a time in which many people are placing their trust in persons and things that will not, in the end, stand the test of time. To place your faith in something that will not last dooms you to disappointment and utter ruin. But don’t squander your opportunity to begin the adventure of walking with God and knowing for certain that your eternity is secured. Turn to Jesus today. Let Him be both Lord and Savior of your life!
“To all who receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gives the right to become the children of God – born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (from John 1:12-13).