Recently my husband and I ran away to the coast for an overnight trip. We needed to escape the valley’s intense heat. With no plans made, we left the entire holiday in God’s hands, knowing whatever time spent there would be on a shoestring.
I’ve never experienced such a blessed time.
The hotel offered us a room with a view and allowed us early check-in— at 11:00 am. We enjoyed our homemade picnic lunch on our room’s balcony, watching waves undulate and kites dive and soar. We stopped by an independent bookstore. The owner paid close attention as my husband and I described our taste in books, then selected a few for us to enjoy.
Then we decided to take a stroll along the strand. Oregon’s coastline is unlike that of many states, in that it’s usually uncrowded, and that day was no different. As we walked along, I beachcombed, bent as a seagull in search of its next meal. What treasures would I find?
The further we walked, the quieter the beach became, until we were the only people walking that stretch. I spotted something reddish far off, just where the tide smoothed the shore. It seemed out of place. I straightened up and altered my course. The nearer I came, the more obvious it was.
There in the sand lay a long-stemmed red rose, the receding tide now lapping a few feet from it. Sand cushioned its petals, and its stem pointed toward the sea. It looked like a picture of grace resting there, so poignant I didn’t dare touch it.
I wondered about this bud. Had someone tossed it from a boat, saying a final farewell to a loved one, or had it been dropped carelessly during a romantic moment shared by two lovers? What was the story behind this flower?
Stepping away, I glanced in the direction we were headed. About every thirty feet along the shoreline lay another perfect red rose, each drowsing soft as silk on a bed of sand. We followed the trail until we’d counted a full dozen. The sight was so beautiful, even mysterious, that I sighed.
At that moment I stopped questioning the history of this bouquet. That question no longer carried weight. I’d heard God’s whisper.
The Lord had blessed me with a dozen red roses. Like a love song playing over the airwaves, each listener’s heart touched in a unique way, it didn’t make any difference who had first received them, or who might be the last to see the velvety petals before the sea finally claimed them. All that mattered at that moment was to stand on the beach where God had planted us and listen. His message, magnificent in its tenderness, came through as the sun’s rays pierced the gray skies, the lacy spindrift forming scallops along the shore, and the blossoms, so fragile, so red. My heart swelled.
I can’t guess what any of the others walking that lonely stretch felt when they stumbled onto this masterpiece of power and vulnerability, if they were touched, intrigued or even noticed.
I only know what I sensed. I am loved. Perfectly and completely. Enough for a dozen long-stemmed roses.