- Job 1:21 (ESV)
Within the last six months, a new island has surfaced adjacent to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. It has been named Shelly Island since the churned up sand which created the island, actually a risen shoal, has left a treasure of sea shells for beachcombers to enjoy. Now this island is quite precarious and getting to it comes with significant danger. Visitors can try walking across the shallow channel, swiftly flowing and seen at times with sharks about, or they can travel by boat. But it's important to realize that it is nothing more than a sand bar which has come above the waterline. It's size, about one mile long by one hundred yards at its widest, is subject to swirling currents and a frequently violent surf and is certainly not something for a greedy developer to cast his sights on. It is temporary, it could last for days, months or even years but is certain at some point to disappear just as quickly as it rose.
Diamond Shoals, the name for the area of sandy shoals which reach up from the ocean for a length of about twelve miles from the tip of Cape Hatteras, were created by the collision of the Gulf Stream, flowing from the South and the Labrador Current, flowing from the North. Their collision has created rough seas, strong currents and the ever present sandy shoals which have been the reason for the Hatteras coastal area to be known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic". Since the English and Spanish fleets began sailing these waters in about 1585, nearly two thousand ships have been lost here.
But what is the importance of this island or shoal from the perspective of our Christian faith? Well, it's just as the verse from Job says above. "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away". And the importance of that message is to be reminded that all things on this earth are temporary. All living things, including man, will live their life cycle and then they will perish. And that thought isn't meant to frighten anyone, it's meant to give you focus and help you prepare for the future.
The Lord above sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die for our sins. And in His death we were given the opportunity to believe in Him and live for Him. If we take him up on his generous offer we will earn a place for eternity with Him and the Father in heaven above. That's what our temporary time on this earth is for, to help us grow in stature and wisdom and to realize that our very purpose on earth is to further His wishes. If we do, we can live forever in beauty and glory; if not, we will die and face unending darkness. It's just the way it's meant to be and the choice is ours, each and every one of us.
And as for Shelly Island, that large sand bar right off of Cape Hatteras? When God's purpose for it here on earth is done, it will sink back into the sea where it came from and the sand that lifted it up will find it's way elsewhere.
Dear Lord, We thank you for the glories and beauty of the world that you have given us and we ask that you help us learn from it and use it to further our love and devotion to you. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.