One day last week I crossed the sand dunes at Ocean City, Maryland, and looked at the sea of umbrellas out near the shoreline. How would I ever find my family members amid this mass of humanity? At the same time my eyes spotted my sister-in-law in the distance, I noticed a young man sitting off to my right, far from the maddening crowd. Although he seemed engrossed in a world of paperwork, I could not resist a comment regarding his position.
“I see you’ve found your own little spot here!” He laughed and continued his work.
As I left the man to his solitude, I thought of Alex Caine, the protagonist from my novel. He is a popular writer of historical fiction who enjoys the peace and quiet of Shell Island, a fictitious escape off the coast of North Carolina. Alex thought it the perfect atmosphere needed for solitude and productivity until his peace shatters one brisk morning while walking his dog on the beach. Complications arise when the reclusive author meets a beautiful, pregnant mother. From the moment they are introduced by her young sons, she captivates him as she struggles alone to raise her young family. A surprising event causes Alex to reconsider his commitment to bachelorhood as he sees himself completing Sarah’s family. Her rejection, however, forces him to return to the God of his childhood and trust his future to One greater than himself.
The following is an excerpt from my novel, By the Sea: A Place of Healing.
As Alex walked along the beach going toward his home, he prayed and cried with his body literally shaking with grief, disappointment and distress. Never had he cried like that since childhood. During his anguish, he remembered the Psalms he had been studying late at night while watching the babies. King David cried out to the Lord to deliver him from trouble. This certainly represented trouble and he saw no way out. He felt alone and rejected for the first time since he attempted to publish his first manuscript. Not even that disappointment compared to this.
When he arrived at the house, he made his way to the study and opened his Bible. Like a thirsty man longing for a cup of water, he searched for something to fill the vacancy left by Sarah. His eyes landed on Jeremiah twenty-nine. The thirteenth verse jumped out at him, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” As soon as he read the passage, he remembered his mother’s prayer admonishing him to seek God.
Thinking he might find something more suitable, he turned to Matthew and discovered basically the same message, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Again, the Bible agreed with his mother. It appeared in bright red letters, Jesus’ own words telling him to put his relationship with God above all. While he had longed for Sarah, his soul ached for something greater. His desires and the emptiness he felt inside could be filled by none other than the One who had restlessly pursued him for the past fifteen years.
For a long time, Alex meditated on the thoughts and Scriptures running through his mind and then he fell to his knees and prayed, God, I want Sarah in my life, but I want you more. I have just begun to know you and I don’t want to continue without your presence in my life. Please help me to look only to you and seek your will.
Are you allowing disappointments and discouragement to weigh you down? Perhaps God will use these shattered dreams to draw you closer to Him. Take the advice of Alex’s mother, “Seek God.”