My family and I recently returned from our annual summer beach trip. We look forward to the wind, waves, swimming, awesome seafood, and of course, searching for shells along the seashore. Over the years we have found beautiful shells in every shape and size. But our favorites are always the ones with a small hole in them. We search and fill our buckets with those because my daughter loves to pull a pretty string through them and make necklaces for her friends and family. But this year, as we searched, I felt like the Lord was trying to show me something more through these small wonders.
I was actually looking intently for sand dollars because those are a rare treasure to find intact. But the Lord kept redirecting me to look for the ones with holes. So I did. And I came home with lots. But why?
Today when I had a chance I thought I should use my trusty sidekick, “Google,” to see what these holes were all about. I had thought up to this point that they were just the place where the little creature inside crawled out of its little home when it was ready.
As it turns out, those perfectly shaped little holes are where other molluscs, such as moon snails, prey on these little creatures. They drill a perfectly shaped little hole with their radulas (like a tongue with really sharp teeth kinda) and suck the creature inside out for dinner! Wow…
I sat there pondering what this information meant for me and what the Lord was trying to teach me…and then it hit me.
I have a number of people in my life right now who are struggling each and every day. Marriage struggles, broken hearts over children, loneliness and depression are some of the things that I hear on their hearts. And I pray for wisdom on how I can encourage them and pray for them. And now I have a better idea.
You see, these shells represent death, y’all. The life that was once there has literally been sucked out and nothing but a shell of that creature is left for the world to see. Just like some of my friends. Just like me some days. Maybe just like some of you.
Life can be so very hard.
There are days that we just don’t know if we can take another step or do one more thing. We feel like we are just a shell of who we used to be and that we don’t have anything left to give. And that hole just seems to sit gaping open for the world to see.
But y’all, here’s the thing. Ya know what holes are good for? Filling! In the same way, my daughter fills those shell holes with string and gives them new life as necklaces, Jesus can do the same for us! He is the hole filler. He is the One who took death and destruction and conquered it with new life! He knows how to take something or someone that the world would toss aside and give them beauty and life in a way no one thought possible. We just have to let Him.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
This is my prayer for my friends, myself, and you. I pray that the holes in our hearts will be filled to overflowing with joy, peace, and hope because we trust in Him. And the next time you see a seashell with a little hole, I hope you remember that death is not the end for those who know Christ. He will bring beauty from the shells that remain in ways we can’t even imagine.
Maggie Meadows Cooper
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at The Little Moments and contributes to IBelieve Truth: A Devotional for Women, Devotional Diva, and the Connecting Ministries Blog. ! She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.