Thursday, July 11, 2019


I was running on a beach early one morning, discouraged by the lack of progress in my own life and feeling that I was still wrestling with the same selfishness and fear that I had many years ago. Because it was so early, the beach was deserted. Then I saw a man walking toward me -- a big old guy, bald as could be, wearing only a long pair of floral swimming trunks, great big paunch leading the way. He looked like Santa Claus on summer vacation.

I intended to just give him the jogger’s nod of acknowledgment and keep moving down the beach, but he was having none of that. Looking me right in the eye, he stuck his right arm all the way out to the side and silently held a huge hand in the air. He walked right up to me. He was insisting on a high five. The man had attitude. I smacked his hand with mine, and he gave me a nod of satisfaction, as if to say, “We’re connected now. It is good that we share this beach together. I am glad you are here.”

Immediately I had this thought – whether or not it is from God, only God knows: I am glad you are here. I am not neutral about your existence. This is a little picture of grace. Do not be discouraged, not even about your own failings.

To this day, every time I remember the man on the beach, I think about God.

-- John Ortberg in “The Me I Want to Be”


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