When I Knew Afresh that God Was Real

I walked the shoreline of the Pacific with a dear friend. “I want this place to be redeemed,” I told her. I’d spilled out a very long story about some difficult relationships that had a connection with this place.

“I want to see it redeemed, too,” she said. Her shoulders willingly bore the weight of painful stories. She heard me. Nodded. Pressed forward, barefooted, toward the cold surf.

“I never quite understood those passages about wolves in sheep’s clothing,” I told her. “But now I do. Having met one, experiencing the havoc an impostor instigated, I understand.”

We continued to walk.

“I was naive,” I told her. “I thought everyone wearing the mantle of minister would be a Christ-follower. I was wrong. So terribly wrong. That explains all the warnings in Scripture about those wolves,” I said.

I looked down at the sand not long after I spilled my story. There, at my feet, was a plastic cat, maybe two inches long–a McDonald’s Happy Meal-sized toy. It looked just like our cat Madeline. “Look,” I told her. “It’s my cat!”

But when I picked the plastic cat from the sand and turned it over in my palm, a wolf stared back at me. A white wolf.

We both laughed at the irony. And I marveled at the realness of God who caused someone to drop a plastic wolf on the beach at the perfect place.

We walked to the water’s edge. I don’t fancy myself an athlete, but I hurled that wolf into the Pacific. He twirled nose over tail and kerplunked into the blue. Gone, gone, gone.

God redeems places. And memories. And pain. And sometimes he uses McDonald toys.

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