“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” ~ Genesis 22:17

I’m writing this on the day between Bethesda Family Camping at the coast and our own family vacation. The big task of the day is getting sandy clothes laundered and packed for the next trip. Sand survives the wash, and sometimes, the dryer. We’ll be finding sand for days, especially in our children’s ears.

Ages of tidal transformation give rocks the ability to fill all things as sand. What was hard, impenetrable, but easier to dispose of becomes fine, countless, and irradicably present. Sand is stone on an extended mission.

When God called Abram from his fatherland to a place God would show him, the Lord was working with a rock of a man: Stubborn enough to sojourn across the desert, strong enough to hold his own against foes, stupid enough to try passing off his wife as his sister in Pharaoh’s court.

But God gave Abram and Sarai a promise: “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” With the patience of primordial sand-shaping forces, the Lord called and came among a pebble of a people. Over generations of striving with, and clinging to, the Lord God Almighty, this stony man’s family became the world-blessing grains of God’s own gospel people.

In the fullness of time these countless grains of sand were gathered up into one rocky representative of the people of God: Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone, the stone the builders had rejected, now risen and ruling victorious over sin, death, and the devil.

Jesus put his own world-blessing gospel into a group of disciples led by a man nicknamed Rocky: Simon Peter and the church were built upon the solid rock of Christ. Though their own lives were ground like stone into dust, the result was the spreading of sandy salvation everywhere you look.

We are hard-pressed in these pandemic days, but under the forces of the Holy Spirit, we are being shaped into sand that can scatter faith, hope, and love wherever we are blown. We are not being broken down to be broken, but to be broken open. I don’t know if the pandemic will finish before I’ve tracked down the last grains of sand from family camp. But I do know we plan to keep camping in the future. The only ones afraid of a little sand are the hard of heart. Thank God we have been given a new heart of flesh in Jesus. In his gracious care, our hearts of stone have been ground into sand and scattered to the Spirit’s wind. We should expect to get everywhere!

Shalom, Pr. Tom