This past week my family enjoyed some fun in the sun at Long Beach Island, NJ. My husband’s side of the family has vacationed in LBI every summer since the early 1950’s. At times, there have been four generations of extended relatives present and more 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins than you can count on an abacus!
I have enjoyed making this annual trip to LBI since 1998, the summer my husband and I started dating:) Now, twenty years later, we still continue this family tradition with bringing our own children to the same beach.
Last week, on our first sunny day in LBI, we walked up the familiar sandy path, over the high-rise dunes, and were utterly shocked to see a construction zone—on the beach?!?!
Orange plastic fencing, bulldozers, dredge pipes, portable office trailers . . . these things don’t belong at the ocean!!!
Beachgoers were informed that construction crews were working 24 hours around the clock and moving quickly down the coast. Despite these optimistic assurances, people were not happy.
In the grand scheme of life, a beach access being closed off for several days is not tragic. But when people are only there for a week, (and paying NJ prices to stay there) it is certainly inconvenient to relocate multiple blocks down the road from their rental homes.
You can imagine the complaint-filled conversations over the next several days from all around. A lot of grief and griping!
Why the township decided to do this project in the middle of summer instead of the spring or fall—not sure? But the fact is that sections of the beach (about 4 blocks at a time) were shut down to the public in order to transfer sand from offshore directly onto the beach. This restoration process was necessary to build up the coastline and replenish the eroded areas of sand.
Although this summer will always be remembered as the ill-timed “Beach Restoration Project of 2018,” it will also serve as a reminder to me of the following verse:
“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT)
No, I am not connecting our annoying temporary beach relocation to suffering, but rather I am focusing in on the process of restoring.
“Restoration” means that something is being repaired/renovated in order to return it to a former condition. The reason the beach needed reconstruction is because the original edge of land had been washed away. The coastline required an overhaul to put back the sand and build up a firm foundation.
Just like the sand slowly erodes from the shoreline, we can often become worn-down by swells of circumstances. Life’s trials roll in one wave after another, repeatedly depleting our footing. Difficult conditions can knock us off balance and leave us less stable than we were before.
While Christians cannot escape suffering in life, we can endure temporary pain and look forward with hope to the promise of eternal restoration. God has given us an unwavering promise of everlasting renewal. Believers will be “restored, supported, strengthened, and placed on a firm foundation.”
As temporary residents in a broken world, believers will experience only a portion of this repair/build up within their lifetime here on earth. But hold tight—one day, Christians will experience God’s full promise and undergo the complete restoration process in heaven. We will be returned to our original condition of perfection and established permanently with Jesus Christ.
I’m guessing there will be another bothersome beach restoration project down the road. Hopefully, it is many years from now—but for today, I am thankful for this spiritual reminder in Scripture:)