While in the Holy Land we visited Caesarea which is an ancient seaport on the Mediterranean Sea. It was founded in 22 B.C. by King Herod the Great and named in honor of Caesar Augustus. There are many ancient ruins including an amphitheater which is still used today. Apostle Paul used Caesarea as a port city and Peter was in ministry there. King Herod's swimming pool foundation in the shallow water is still standing. We saw the area where the chariot races were. The races were on sand because the sand soaked up the blood. This is the same area where Apostle Paul was tried for causing the riot and later executed. We also saw the remains of an aqueduct which provided fresh water to the city. The engineering was most impressive. But the most impressive thing to me was when I put my feet in the beautiful and clear Mediterranean Sea! Tiny shells that made up the "sand". We had five minutes and I never wanted to be the one the bus was waiting on. I was picking up sea glass as fast as I could! It was everywhere and I did not want to leave!
Sea glass are shards of glass bottles that someone has littered into the ocean. It becomes weathered glass that has been physically and chemically changed. This weathering produces frosted glass. These pieces of glass are smooth from being tossed by the waves against the rocks and the sand for many years. Sea glass is useless until it becomes smooth and frosted and then it becomes art and many people collect it and/or use it for jewelry making. People love to look for sea glass along beaches.
Many of us may feel like sea glass, broken, no good, discarded. We use to be something whole and with a purpose. We feel we have been thrown away, tossed about, getting stuck in places and taking hard knocks. 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9, "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..." Then someone comes along and picks us up knowing that we were made for more. They see our purpose and it is so much more than we ever thought!
We all go through seasons where we feel useless and not needed. Some may even feel like they have been forgotten. But all the while we are being pursued by the One who has the best plan for our life. Jeremiah 29: 11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
God knows when we are going through these seasons and he lets us because He knows it is part of a greater plan. It is His plan which serves His purposes for us. We should be thanking God for the hard times which is hard. But if we trust Him we know that He will bring about good from our bad circumstances. Romans 8: 28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
We thank God for these tough times because we do trust that He is going to use them! James 1:2-4, "My brethren,count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces[a]patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." Read that again, that is great news! Trust that these trials you are going through will be used by God who loves us so much and wants what is best for us. He will "show off" as I like to say, making things better than any thing we could ever imagine!
God will also use these tough trials to encourage others. 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." 2 Corinthians 1:4 says: “Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Praise God that He uses us, even when we are broken and feel useless, for His Glory! Next time you see a piece of sea glass think of it as a symbol of God's transformation.