Slowly regaining consciousness, the stranger gently opened one salt-encrusted eyelid. The surf had battered him senseless, but the first thing to come back was his hearing. Laying there on the beach, he listened half- aware to the relentless tide; each wave like a cuff on the back of the head, telling him how stupid he was. Joy would set in eventually, but right then all he knew was that he was a complete failure, and lucky to be alive.
He wretched, and lying there in his own regurgitated sea water he found himself face to face with a tiny, arrogant crab. The unblinking crustacean seemed ready to pick him apart piece by piece, just like the Accuser in his head.
Nicely done, idiot. Taking on the storm of life with a crew full of lies. Didn’t turn out so well, did it? Here are the facts: you’re shipwrecked, it’s your own fault, and nobody is going to come looking for you.
You’re washed up, moron.
What this stranger didn’t understand in those first few moments of condemnation was that he had landed on the shores of grace. Testing each limb for injury, he gently raised himself onto all fours. The scent of wood smoke finally pierced the brine in his brain, and now able to see past himself he spotted a campfire not more than few yards away.
And a Man sat there, just looking at him. “Hi,” the Man said.
The stranger tried to respond, but his throat was raw and it seemed that every part of himself was packed with sand or seaweed.
“Don’t talk,” the Man said, as he sprang up to help the stranger. “Just sit here for a bit. I’ll get some water. Don’t worry- it’s not the salty kind.”
“And by the way,” the man yelled over His shoulder as he walked to a spring,”it may not feel like it now, but you should know: you’re alive.”
“…Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee…” John 21:1 (NIV)
Author’s Note: I love the story of Jesus and Peter meeting again after the resurrection, which you can read in the Bible, in John chapter 21. It seems to me that Peter was truly and profoundly shipwrecked. What struck me recently was that Jesus never reaffirmed His love for Peter. But isn’t that what I want when I blow it: a reminder that Jesus still loves me? Instead, Jesus in effect tells Peter that he isn’t washed up, and it’s time to remind the others that they all live on the shores of grace.
God’s love is so constant as to be a non-issue. What changes is our ability to perceive it; a tide of lies and disobedience can beat us senseless.
Today, get face-to-face with Jesus again and let Him ask the hard question: “Do you truly love me?” If you answer yes, then His next move will probably be to give you some fish and bread, and tell you to get on with Life.
We all come onto the shores of grace shipwrecked, and we would do well to remember it.