Last week, after a busy week of ministry and meetings, we had the opportunity to spend half a day at Siesta Key, one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. Siesta Key is known not only for its gorgeous view of the Gulf of Mexico but also for its warm water and powdery white sand. We spent a long time simply resting and soaking in the afternoon sun that poked in and out of the clouds.  I felt calmed by the waves gently rolling in, the seabirds squawking, and children gleefully playing in the surf. The warmth and softness of the sand beneath me felt like a soft, pliable bed. Here’s a picture of sand on that beach:

Later as I got up to walk the shoreline with my wife, I brushed the sand off my legs and back. As I did this, I looked around and became aware of the vastness of the beach that stretched beyond my eyesight, as well as the immeasurable amount of sand that blanketed the shore. I know this may sound a little strange, but at that moment a scripture came in my head:

“How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand…”

Psalm 139:17-18

I reflected on all that has happened in our life over the past few months—the precious times we’ve recently had with family and friends, the health struggles of our grandson that have brought so many people together in prayer and support, and the changes in ministry and prospects for new ministry opportunities— I realized a simple truth: God’s love, thoughts, and plans for me and you vastly surpass our understanding.  They outnumber all the grains of sand on this planet and beyond! This truth, like the warm sands of Siesta Key, is something to be savored and remembered, not brushed off.

God desires that we revel in His love and trust in His plan for our life, even when answers to our questions aren’t yet seen. God is supremely creative. He fashioned the cosmos out of nothingness not only to display His glory but also for the enjoyment of you and me, His children. As Terese and I walked along the beach, I saw more evidence of God’s thoughts and artistry demonstrated by his pinnacle creation: people.  We saw people skipping across the water on boogie boards, soaring through the sky on kites towed by boats, and crafting beautiful things out of the sand.

Like this minion:

And this bed:

Their existence and beauty point to the ingenious thoughts and creativity that God has endowed to people.  I basked in the realization that God is supremely and always good, and His goodness will endure through our lives and all eternity.  My soul was fed, my spirit replenished, and my heart was full at the realization that God had and always will have you and me in mind when He spoke all creation—and each one of our days— into being.

Today, fellow sojourners on this planet, I invite you to soak in the beauty of God’s uncountable, loving thoughts for you.  When we experience this, we enter the threshold of authentic, powerful worship.

God bless you!

Chris Atkins

I’ve included my song “Search My Heart” which is based on Psalm 139 to accompany this blog. Enjoy!