Treasure in the Sand

By Chris Baxter

As some of you know, I frequent Panama City Beach with my husband Mac as he does orthopedic ER work at a hospital in the city. Poor me, right? While he fixes ankles, hips, and knees, I get to sit and look at the beach (from my condo; no thanks for the sand), and write things like... this post.

I also take beach walks to clear my head, and then to fill it up again with the next "wise thought" so I can impart it to whomever chooses to listen.*

And then, sometimes on these walks, I stop and talk to other beach sitters or walkers. Being an introvert, this will always be a harder thing for me than pushing my pen across a page, or clicking keys on the computer. I really do like people. Actually, I love people! Especially one at a time.

Yesterday I was walking and thinking, and thinking and walking, and I was very content with just me, myself, and I... then God entered in. I recognized the feeling; today was a day to share ...Him...with someone.

"Oh boy! With who?," I nervously asked God. I wasn't sure what lucky man or woman was going to get to hear me say a "Word" but somehow, whenever the Lord nudges me to speak up, he then faithfully directs my steps to the right person.

So, I started walking and praying, and praying and walking...

Not too long after that, I saw a man with one of those treasure-hunter-contraptions; he was waving it back and forth across the white sand.

"Is this the one, God?"

"Yes, go."

So I leisurely strolled up to this older fellow. He was wearing a thick sweatshirt, worn out jeans, and baseball cap as it was a Florida-type-of-cold-day. The treasure-hunting-device was beeping decisively. I said, "Find something?"

"Yep, it's in here somewhere," he said. After about 30 seconds of shuffling the sand, a rusty old bottle cap was uncovered. He put it in his pocket explaining to me that even things like this, considering their age, might be worth something.

"Oh really, how interesting to know," I replied.

"Where are you from?" I asked.

"Michigan," he responded. (He looked like he was from Michigan. Not sure what Michigan-people really look like, but if I had to guess, it would be like the weathered snowbird who was standing in front of me.)


"Ah, here for warmth! I get it! Nothing like sunshine in the midst of winter!" I said. Then I asked, "Do you do this much?," sincerely wanting to know more about his treasure hunts.

"Yep," he said, "This is my third day here, and I've already found 37 cents, 2 rings, and a cross."

"Oh wow!" I said. "That's awesome. A cross! I love that." I then said to myself, "OK, a cross...he found a cross...there's your segue."

So, I took a breath, said a prayer, and asked, "Do you know what the cross means?"

A little bewildered at the question, because, as you know, that's not an everyday "how's the weather type question," he quizzically said, "No, tell me."

And for the next minute, we had a conversation. I can't recall exactly all I said, but it was from the heart. I know I told him that God loved him, and I also know that the age-old-timeless-Truth found in John 3:16 was spoken: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

He said, "Yes, I believe that! I am a Christian. I am a Catholic Christian."

I smiled and simply said, "Yay! That's great to know!" We spoke for a moment longer, and nodded at each other with a quiet agreement and a good-bye. As I walked away, with hopeful confidence that he knew Jesus as his Savior, I said, "God's Spirit lives in you." And that was that.

I kept walking on, and praying much, asking the Lord to use my meager jumbled words to do his mighty life-giving work. I prayed that when this friendly older Michigan man got back to his sunny beachside condo, he would relook at the rusty bottle cap, the 37cents, the 2 rings, but most of all the cross--and then take hold of the age-old timeless Truth of this treasure that he uncovered in the sand.

*Check out other beachside writing, and subscribe to the Daily Prayers on www.RespitefortheWeary.com

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Daily Prayer

Disarming powers and authorities

And having disarmed powers and authorities, he (Christ) made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15

Dear Lord Jesus,

There is no greater power than your own. All other authority and every stronghold has been overcome by your personal sacrifice on the cross. You took these to the grave and came out victorious. In the messiness of this life, as we live between the "now and not yet", help us to hold fast to this truth. Amen.