His Love

Beach - Birgit Whelan

Recently I directed a three-day silent retreat for six women in Virginia Beach. As the retreat opened, I met briefly with each woman and asked her to write on a sheet of paper the one grace that she would most like to receive from the Lord. [One …] told me she wanted more than anything to actually experience just one time the love of God. I assured her that I would join her in that prayer.

The following morning this woman (whom I’ll call Winky) arose before dawn and went for a walk on the beach … Walking along the seashore barefoot with the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean lapping against her feet and ankles, she noticed some hundred yards away a teenage boy and a woman fifteen yards behind walking in her direction. In less than a minute the boy had passed … but the woman made an abrupt ninety-degree turn, walked straight toward Winky, embraced her deeply and kissed her on the cheek. She whispered, “I love you,” and continued on her way. Winky had never seen the woman before. Winky wandered along the beach for another hour before returning to the house. She knocked on my door. When I opened it, she was smiling. “Our prayer has been answered,” she said simply.

~ The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (Colorado: Multnomah, 1990) 95.

This is one of the many beautiful stories in Brennan Manning’s, The Ragamuffin Gospel. What I love in it is seeing the lengths that God will go to, not only to answer our prayer, but to reveal just how much we are loved by Him. That in the spontaneity and warmth of a stranger at the seashore, God would answer this woman’s need to know in a felt way something of His great love for her.

Though we see in His Word and in His cross His immense love, what about in the small, and the day to day? Those Spirit-soaked grace-filled moments when the tenderness of God’s hand is unmistakable?

And though it may be different from the kindness of a stranger on a beach, God is endlessly creative and perfectly particular in His love. A moment from Him, just for you.

He has not left us alone. He is nearer than we might sometimes realise, seeking out the ways this very day that we might be reminded of Him, and His tender love. Let’s ask Him again for eyes that might see, and moments, like the woman in this story, where we are arrested by grace.


~ by Birgit on January 24, 2013.

4 Responses to “His Love”

  1. Hello dear Birgit…i have just read your retreat time and so understand walking beside the sea. God in His mercy, has allowed me to live again by the shore, as i shared with you and Lesley on rtv awhile ago. Silence is a virtue, the sheer joy of being alone with nature, is something much forgotten in this fast track world. God bless you for your sharing!

  2. Dear Rosalind, So lovely to hear from you, and thank you for your reply :)
    Though the story above is not my own, it’s so good to hear of the way that you relate to the peacefulness of being by the sea, and that God has made a way for you to live by the shore again.
    Have you come across the book ‘Gift from the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh? The reflections are beautiful, and from your comments here, I thought you might enjoy it. With love to you.

  3. I haven’t heard of the book, but will visit Amazon and order a copy. Thankyou for your suggestion.
    Whenever i think of you, i am reminded of St Pauls and Westminster Cathedral, such beautiful dwellings for a beautiful being.

  4. Thank you so much for your lovely and kind words.
    That’s so good that you’ve been able to order ‘Gift from the Sea’ … Do let me know your thoughts :) With love and every blessing.


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