MY SEA SHELLS
By: Mary E. Adams
My neighbor, Laurie, just returned from Jamaica a few weeks ago. She had asked me what I wanted her and her friend Sandy to bring me as a souvenir, and my request was for a sea shell, since I have an extensive collection from all over the world. Well, she complied...and so now I have another one.
When I look at my collection, I am reminded of the lovely beaches they came from...some from Malaysia, some from India, others from China and Borneo. A lot of them were given to me, but the most were some I picked up personally whenever I could beachcomb a bit.
I remember well the big one I got in South India. We had gone to the very tip of India to a little village called Rameswaram to bring the Word of God to a small group of Christians. But at that time, a Hindu festival was in full swing. Though I preached out on the seaside in the sand, the blaring music was hard to talk over. What a crazy place it was during that festival! Grown business executives, scientists, would strip down to loincloths and paint themselves bright colors, dancing about in a wild frenzy.
Later, we went about 5 miles to a government hotel, where the music could not be heard. The pastor and his wife were in one room, and my travel companion Melanie and I in another...the only people in the hotel. We were right on the beach, and I knew we faced nothing but open ocean that extended south to Antarctica from our little balcony. Then the lights went out and we were in complete darkness. There was nothing we could do, so I went out on that balcony. The moon was so brilliant, and you could hear the breakers hitting the rocks. So peaceful. Melanie and I had that wonderful tape, "God With Us," so she joined me as we sat and started listening to this beautiful music, worshipping the Lord.
Suddenly, we noticed some dogs came below us and laid down. It was uncanny...they were listening to the music too! I said to Melanie, "let's turn the tape player off and see what happens." They got up and left! Then we turned it on again....they returned! We tried this several times, just proving to ourselves that these poor animals had never heard such sweetness...the Spirit was literally drawing them!
The next day, I wanted a sea shell. But up and down the filthy beach, nothing but small sand dollars. Suddenly, a small boy saw us and came aside. He saw us looking for shells, and then he ran away. In a few moments he returned...with a very large shell. It was beautiful! He wanted to just give to me...but I could not do that and told him I must give him something...and paid him ten rupees. What a treasure I had...and still have! So you see, my collection has stories behind each one!
Back to these sea shells; each one is special and unique. I try to imagine what it must feel like to those sea creatures who must pull them along. Perhaps there are times they might wish they could get free...except, of course, when they need protection.
But there is another reason shells mean much to me. Let me explain it to you by telling you about a vision I had:
In this vision, I was outdoors with lots of other people. We had been walking for quite a while and were very tired, thirsty, and hungry. We came to an area just below a small hill. People sat down, exhausted. I was standing up, however, and I looked and saw a house on top of the hill. It was not large, indeed, more of a cottage. But soon, a man walked out of the house and looked down below at all of us. Then I heard him holler, "Are you hungry, thirsty?" "Yes!" cried all the people. "Then I will bring you something," he answered. Pretty soon, we were all drinking and eating. Everyone was refreshed and happy.
But I overheard some them next to me talking...about the man in the house. "Look at him! He used to be a king! Look at him now...just a little tiny house!" They were making fun of his circumstances. Soon, one by one, they started to leave. Some thanked the man, others did not. But as I was going to be the last person, I thought to myself, "Wow! This man was a king? But if he was once a king, he is still a king...because he still has the same blood." I reasoned about it, then made a decision. When it came my time to leave, I would bow down before him and say these words, "Sir, if you were once a king, you are still a king. So I honor you and thank you for what you have done for me."
Immediately, that man stood before me. "Because you have honored me as a king, all I have is yours. If you ever need anything, just ask it of me." I looked in his face. It was Jesus!
He continued talking to me: "I left my throne of glory and came and lived on this earth as a common man. But this is how most people see me...poor Jesus on a cross...poor Jesus with no place to lay his head. Yes, I was that man...but no longer. I now sit at the right hand of the Father. I am King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and I sit and rule and reign in My Glory. All who will honor me as King will I also honor."
Then I awoke...very shaken by this dream. But throughout the years that have followed, whenever I was in need or in peril, I remembered what He said to me. I have also remembered to honor Him and humble myself in His presence.
Maybe you don't see the connection...but this promise from Him is my real "shell"...and my most treasured one of them all! Serving the Lord does not put a burden on my back...I am proud that I am so blessed to carry Him along with me. And one day, when he says it's time to leave the shell behind, it will still be a reminder for others of His eternal love to those who abide under His shadow.
By then, of course, I will have already graduated from his armor into his arms.
Mary E. Adams
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