Hope at the Beach
A Surfer’s Chapel
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.
“I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Message
A few weeks ago on Monday morning, I arose at my usual time, early, and drove down to the Seal Beach pier. My intent was to read my morning devotion, meet with a person I meet most every morning before her work begins and pray with her. Meet M&M and others, pray with them, go home and begin my day. I realize after five and a half years that things don’t always turn out the way I intend them.
This morning I arrived a little early. The parking lot was empty except for a man with a broken arm, setting on the wall looking at the waves break on the shore. I began to read the prophet Jeremiah. The sun had not yet broken over the trees and there was fog on my window. As I looked up from my reading I realized that the man was near my window. The parking lot was still empty for the most part but I was not concerned. My window was open and he approached it. He noticed the Bible in my hand and said, “Sorry for interrupting…” I told him he wasn’t and smiled at him saying, “Are you having a good morning?” He looked at me and said, “Are you Pastor Chuck?” This is not unusual because Mike is always telling people about our ministry and encouraging folks to come down and meet me. Of course I said yes and asked if he would like to come in and sit. He said he’d be more comfortable standing where he was. He began to cry. I looked at him and he said, “Do you have something to read to me that would bring me some kind of comfort. As I said before I was reading in Jeremiah and thought of the verses above. Without a word I turned to it and in my best voice-over voice read it to him. When I ended, the tears had increased and sobs had been added. After a moment he said, “Pray for me!” Again without a question I began to pray. As the young lady who I’d usually meet drove into the parking lot, he said thanks and began to leave. I said “I hope that I will see you this Sunday.” He answered me, “Hope, yes that what this is, Hope at the Beach.” I smiled, he went on “I think I will now.” Of course I didn’t understand what he meant but I know God did.
Two weeks later at the 7:15 am worship he showed up. He pretended to meet me for the first time and I played along. He was much different. He spoke with clarity and purpose. He shared with the group about his tumultuous journey so far and how he found us. After the service as I pulled out my guitar to get ready for the next service he approached me and quietly said, “Thanks Pastor Chuck, I had intended to end my life a few weeks ago until you read that scripture and prayed with me. See you next week.” I smiled and he has been coming ever since.
This is what God does at Hope at the Beach. Thanks for your prayers and support and of course may God bless you all big time. “Go in peace and Surf the Lord”