Coast of California
“Do not merely listen to the word…Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom…not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does” James 1:22-25
On Sunday, our minister gave a wonderful sermon on earthly peace and hope being a result of our focus on the eternal. He told the story of a woman who attempted to swim across the Catalina Channel from Catalina Island to Palos Verde on the California coast. After two unsuccessful attempts she victoriously swam 21 miles across, and walked upon the shore of California. When asked what made the third attempt successful she answered that every time she started to give up she pictured the coast of California. That was her saving hope and she was victorious in her endeavor.
Little did I know that this concept would play out in reality for me at the close of that very sermon. When asked to stand and sing Blessed Assurance, I felt the weight of grief wash over me taking me back to my childhood days. As the music rose so did my precious memories which held pain like a sponge holds water. On Sunday mornings as a child, I would be back in my room getting ready for church when I would hear the piano echo Christian favorites. While Daddy was waiting on his five girls to get ready, many times I would hear Blessed Assurance on the piano while Daddy belted out the words… ‘This is my story, this is my song, blessed assurance all the day long…’ As I stood there in the dark unable to sing, tears streamed down my face and my heart began to break…I miss him so much! Bruce reached around me to comfort me and I suddenly remembered the ‘coast of California.’ In my mind I pictured the gates of Heaven with Daddy and Christ singing Blessed Assurance over me as I move closer. With arms wide open and smiles that stretch forever, they are awaiting the day when I reach my coast of California…Heaven.
How blessed I was that I not only heard the message that day but I did what it said. I pictured the eternal to bring me hope in the temporary. We all hear sermons and read articles about the comforts from God which encourage and move us for the moment. But we will miss the blessing if we look intently at the message but do not put in into practice. We will forget the image it reflected upon our heart and miss the treasures that could be ours.
‘The Word of God is meant to do more than penetrate. It is meant to activate.’ (Beth Moore, James, p.78)
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