Measureless Sands

CI764Amy Carmichael was a Christian missionary to India for over fifty years.  A couple of days ago Philip Yancey posted a passage from one of Carmichael’s writings that I had not seen before.  The words spoke to me in a powerful way.  She said, “As my thoughts were occupied, I found myself on the shore of the sea. And I took a grain of sand from the miles of sand about me and I held it in my hand. Then I knew that my desire for the presence of my Lord was like a little grain for smallness in comparison with my Lord’s desire to come under my roof; for that was like the measure of measureless sands.  And as my thoughts followed this great thought, Jesus, my Lord, answered and said to me, ‘With desire I have desired to come to you.’”

CI750The fact that I was so touched by these words may have had something to do with the fact that I recently did a good bit of photography on beautiful sand beaches in South Carolina and Georgia.  It was not hard for me to visualize “the miles of sand” she spoke of.  Nor was it hard for me to relate to her feeling that her desire for the presence of Christ in her life was inconsequential compared to his desire to come under her roof.   I doubt that Carmichael’s desire was actually small.  I’d like to think mine isn’t either.  But when any of us compare our desire for communion with God to God’s desire for communion with us we always come up short.  Very short!

CI758I think I am pretty much always aware of this vast difference in God’s desire and my own but during Holy Week it is magnified exponentially.  During this week I am forced to consider how the God who created the heavens and the earth humbled himself and took on human flesh.  Not only that, once he did so he willingly took up a cross and died so that your sins and mine might be forgiven.  John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”   The thing that amazes me so much about this is that Jesus not only willingly laid down his life for his friends, he also laid down his life for his enemies.  He literally poured out his life so that he might come under our roof.  If we were to ask him why he did such a thing, we too might hear him say, “With desire I have desired to come to you.”

When I consider what God has done for me and all the rest of us to show his desire for us, I truly feel that my desire for him is only a grain of sand compared to “the measure of measureless sands.”  I am humbled by this recognition and so very grateful for a God who still desires to come under my roof despite my reluctance to allow him in more.  At the same time I am convicted to find ways to open the door of my heart wider to him.  I hope you will be as well.


(I took the three pictures above on my recent visit to Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia.)