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More From Robert K. Abel

February 26, 2020 by Robert K. Abel (Maryland, USA)
Robert (3rd from left) with college buddies from West
Liberty State College (now University) in April 2019.

Traveling is a special gift for me.  It allows me to feel close to God through the beauty of God’s creation and is still creating on this earth.  That held true in September 2017 in Portland, Maine, as friends and I stepped off our cruise ship in that New England seaport village.

The streets were lined with vendors displaying nicely handcrafted items made in Maine.  Several were sea glass artisans. I remarked that I had never seen so much sea glass or thought about the beauty that could be created from those little gems picked up along the shore.  That experience left an image that remained with me.  

One day the comparison of our human lives to God turning trash to treasure clearly surfaced for me.  I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough to capture the thoughts that flooded my mind.  The result is today’s devotion in The Upper Room with a scriptural foundation from Psalm 34:18.

Portland Head Lighthouse in Portland, Maine
The sea glass scene on the altar

Although I had never thought much about sea glass previously, sea glass now reminds me of God and how God’s love is ever-present to help us through difficult rough times.  Like the evolution of turning discarded glass into treasured sea glass, God can soften even our most difficult experiences and cloud our pain when we faithfully cling to Christ.

Like the cross, dove, and fish, sea glass has become a Christian symbol for me reminding me not only of God’s presence but also of the power of God’s love to transform us.  And I’ve started noticing sea glass everywhere.  Only a couple days after receiving this request to be a guest blogger, I arrived at church to find the altar dressed in an inspiring scene of sea glass reminding us that we are “fishers of men.”

I am thankful that I enjoy the gift of travel with the beauty and inspiration that different lands, cultures and people can bring.  I wonder how much less those inspiring sights might mean to someone who does not know Christ; where they believe that God is not present in their lives.  My faith enhances the most beautiful mountain scene or sparkling sea and even the smaller things, like sea glass, that I encounter along the way.  Sea glass has become a reminder of the faith that guides and sustains me.

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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