Several weeks ago, I was walking on a beach in Galveston, Texas. With each shifting step, my family’s rented beach house got further and further behind me. I had to get away from the house just for a bit and be alone. After all, there were about 20 people in the house at the time. But it wasn’t really for solitude that I went on this walk. It was for memories.
As the waves tumbled up to my feet and slumped back into its watery home, I talked to my Lord. I spoke with Him about this family vacation. I noted the hours of Mario Kart my siblings and I played on the Wii as the rain interrupted our beach days.
I told Him about the laughter that bubbled out of my three-year-old nephew as we played on my grandparents’ bed. I shared in detail the hilarity of going crab hunting with all the menfolk after dark. I’m sure He smiled as I recalled with Him the family worship service we had our first night at the beach.
From swinging in hammocks with my sister, to shopping on The Strand, to meeting up with old missionary friends, I had a lot to talk about with my Creator. Gratitude swept over me, not unlike the foamy waves at my feet.
My walk along the shore and along my memories was halted when a single thought arose, “What if God takes it all?”
My home. My parents. My siblings and their spouses. My precious nephew and soon-to-be-born niece. My amazing job. My freelance company. My church. My dear, dear friends. Even my silly dog. What if God takes it all?
Admittedly, even at the mere thought of it, I nearly doubled over right there on the wet sand. My feet sunk, much like my heart, as the tide and my thoughts came in. I pressed on in my walk, this time heavier and tearfully. My thoughts raced, as my fists seemed to grip all those things I hold dear. I turned around, concluding I had walked far enough. I felt as though the more I considered losing it all, I just wanted to be near my family.
I started the walk back, and as I did, I saw something in the distance walking toward me. As I squinted, I could eventually see my sister-in-law and nephew searching for seashells on the beach just outside of our beach house. I stood still, watching them interact and laugh, taking mental picture after mental picture.
I felt my Lord speak to me, “Trust Me.”
Having been called to and making strides toward working as an international missionary, I often feel the Father telling me this. In pursuit of education, “Trust Me.” In pursuit of a career, “Trust Me.” In this season of waiting, “Trust Me.”
But it was different this time on the beach. I realized right there that, someday, when I enter the mission field alone, leaving my family, friends, and even my little dog, I cannot function without trust in Him.
Scripture is clear in communicating that trust in God leads to a dependence on God (Prov.3:5) and that trust in God means an outpouring of praise to Him (Psalm 28:7). Indeed, knowing God, truly knowing God, should lead us to trust in Him (Psalm 9:10). What’s better, once I begin to know God, He will not change on me (Heb.13:8). Unlike the shifting sand I stood on that day on the beach, God will not change with time (James 1:17). He is worthy of my trust (Psalm 18:30).
Because of these truths, I do not hoard my belongings or loved ones, believing they’ll slip away at any moment. But, rather, I cherish the blessing of them. I create memories and spaces in which to appreciate God in a deeper way because of them.
What if God takes it all?
Then He is still good (Dan. 3:18). Trust Him.