Like Chipped and Broken Shells

I was recently on one of Florida’s beaches enjoying the sound of the waves and talking with the Lord. As I walked along the shore I was looking for some nice shells (our bathrooms are beach themed). There were thousands—perhaps millions—of different shells of different sizes, designs, and colors. 

Along the beach there were collections of shells lying together having been washed up by the tides. While still maintaining some of their natural beauty, many of the shells had chips or holes. Some shells were broken in half, left ignored and forgotten. 

I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between these shells and people. How many of us have lost some of our luster? How many of us are chipped, ridden with holes, or just plain broken—swept up and left to be forgotten? Yet we are not completely void of our natural beauty. Furthermore, we are redeemable! For this reason Christ died for us.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. ~ Ephesians 1:7

It is true that sin, guilt, shame, and failure can break us. Furthermore, some fall and will never recapture what they once had. Consequences are a reality. Folly, pride, and rebellion come with a price. Still, if we were good and pristine, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. However, none of us is truly good or pristine. 

Friend, I don’t know your story, but maybe you feel like one of those broken shells. Maybe you’ve been dealt a difficult hand. Perhaps you’ve made some poor choices that caused you to lose it all. Maybe you once walked with the Lord but fell away, and now you think He has no place for you. Or maybe you struggle with a besetting sin and just feel as if the devil is always going to have the upper hand. Friend, you are simply a prayer away from the loving presence of God.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. ~ Romans 10:13

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

How tragic when persons come to a point when they feel they have absolutely nothing worthwhile to give. Strangely, in our brokenness we sometimes have more to give—because of grace. Brokenness can, indeed, remain as worthless brokenness. However, in Christ one’s brokenness can be redemptive. Brokenness can develop compassion and empathy. Grace can guide a person to give a warm smile, a word of encouragement, or needed truth in the right time. Brokenness can develop humility that is willing to associate with the lowly and to help the downtrodden. And if brokenness does not leave one embittered, genuine love can begin to grow in a world where love is so needed.

Friend, perhaps you recognize you are like a chipped, broken, and hole-ridden shell. It might be difficult to see, but there still remains a measure of dignity and image of God. In and through Christ, these can be renewed. In Christ, no man or woman remains like a chipped and broken shell. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-18