From our 2013 Fall Newsletter…
My family recently took a trip to the coast to spend some time away to recharge after a long, full and fruitful summer working at His Thousand Hills. The boys and I spent hours with live minnows on the ends of our hooks, standing in the surf, patiently waiting to reel in the catch of a lifetime! (Still waiting!) My daughter and I spent countless hours combing the beach for beautiful rocks and shells that the waves had deposited in the sands on shore. I will never forget her excitement the first morning we walked down to the beach. There were thousands of beautiful shells and rocks, too many to even count and collect. For those of you who know my daughter, it took great restraint to collect only a select few! We walked past a lady who was also collecting shells and she said, “This beach doesn’t usually have a great deal of shells, but there was a big storm last night and all these beautiful shells and rocks were washed ashore because of it.” Over the course of the week, we ended up filling several buckets!
I remember taking a break one afternoon from shell collecting and just sitting on the edge of the surf with my wife, Julia, and watching the kids frolic in the waves that repeatedly crashed upon the shore. We were not engaged in any deep conversation at the time, as it was really nice to just sit there, together, mesmerized by the waves. At one point I remember saying to her, “These waves don’t care what is going on in the world, they continue to come and go, crash and splash, day after day, month after month, year after year. That is just amazing!”
We continued to sit there and watch our children frolic in the turbulent waves, frothy foam and saltwater mist. It was quite entertaining to watch them from shore as they kept watch in anticipation of the next “big” wave. “Here comes a big one” they would yell among themselves. Having a panoramic view of all four of them from where I was sitting, I could see our older two getting into position to ride or buoy the large waves instead of getting caught in the undertow and grip of the crashing water. Our younger two were not as quick and able to navigate against the current or withstand the large crashing waves. They would often succumb to its strength and be pulled under the water until the wave released its grip and had passed. Having spent some time in the water myself, I knew for a fact that some of those waves were strong and violent, but that did not keep our children from swimming among them.
As I sat there, I began to parallel those waves to LIFE. Each day, the waves of life keep coming and going. Day after day, year after year. Some days are stormy and the waves are strong and violent. Other days, the water is calm and the waves come at a slow, much more manageable, rhythmic pace. Some waves of life completely knock you off your feet and pull you down with the undertow and others, just a nice, smooth ride as it passes under you. It was at that moment that the Lord reminded me that no “wave” is too big for our faithful God.
As I think about this ministry and the nine years our family has invested here, we have seen waves of assorted sizes and proportions come and go with the tide of the seasons. Many of these waves were “big ones” as my kids would say. They were waves that the enemy intended to use to knock us off our feet and pull us under, to distract and discourage us, to cause destruction, financial ruin and chaos, but as we stood steady, firm in our faith and on God’s word, the waves did not take us under. Even more so, what I have come to realize, is that with every wave that crashes on the shore of our lives and this ministry, no matter how big or small, with it comes a purposeful deposit of treasure, deposited at our feet in the sand. Sadly, we sometimes tend to lose sight of those treasures in the midst of the crashing waters and the storm, as they can only been seen once we have weathered the wave and it begins to recede and ride back out to sea. Those treasures, that are often times most beautiful after a violent storm, are the buckets of beautiful rocks and shells my daughter and I collected during our long walks up and down the shore. In our lives and the ministry of His Thousand Hills, those treasures are the spiritual fruit we see. They are the lives of people, both young and old, that come to this place and have an encounter with a very real and loving God. They receive a touch from our Heavenly Father and are changed as they are pulled from the turbulent waves of their own lives and are saved and transformed by His grace. When I look at the fruit of this ministry, the changed lives that are left in the sand after the waves subside, God’s faithfulness is so evident.
As the Executive Director of this ministry, I will continue to prayerfully keep watch for those “big waves”, but they will not sink this ship. They will not take us under. We will stand on the promises the Lord has given us to provide for all of our needs and to see souls saved for eternity. I know the Lord has even greater plans than we have seen thus far for this ministry. We have only seen the beginning. We will ride the waves. I know in the end, the outcome is priceless, progress for the Kingdom…treasures in the sand.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9closeGalatians 6:9 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (ESV) closeGalatians 6:9closeGalatians 6:9 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (ESV) 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (ESV)