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By STEVE GANZ
Many of us have heard the term “Alpha and Omega” applied to God. It usually means that God is in the beginning and the end of all things — that God himself is the Beginning and the End. While I do believe that this is true, I once had an experience that placed this divine designation in a different light.
My mother usually came from Michigan to visit me and my family in Oregon every summer. We would all go together to the beach in Lincoln City for a week. Each year we looked forward to this time with great anticipation. We were in the process of making plans again for our special time, when my mother informed me that she would not be able to come this summer. She was seriously ill from cancer and could not make the trip.
We were devastated from this news. I knew I had to go back to Michigan to see my mother before she died. I thought to myself, “If my Mom can’t come to the beach, I’ll bring the beach to her.” She loved the beach, the sand and water. “I’ll go to the beach and dig up some sand and bring back a bottle of the sea water for her.”
When I arrived at the beach to collect my gift, it was storming; wind and rain drenched me. I went over to some rocks and filled up my water bottle. As I was getting a little teary eyed, thinking of how much my mother loved the ocean, I turned to look at the sand. The sand is all blackened from a recent oil spill. I’m soaked, emotional, and really needing to quickly find some clean sand.
I notice a patch of sand near the beach grass. It has an odd orange spot within it. I wonder, what is that? Walking over to the clear bit of sand, the orange spot begins to come into focus through my water spattered glasses. I get on my knees and the orange spot resolves into a toy shovel, probably left behind by some child. I use it to conveniently fill my bag with sand. It occurs to me that God has provided a tool for me so I can put the sand into the bag without having to use my hands. How kind!
But then my heart breaks. “Why is it,” I pray out loud, “I can see you in the small things, like this shovel, but it is so hard for me to see you in the big things, like my mother dying of cancer?”
A thought, right then, came to me: “If I am in the little things, I am also in the big. I’m the Alpha and Omega.” This concept instantly brought me peace. I could trust that God had not abandoned my mother in her time of need. The picture was bigger than I could see from where I stood.
Yes, my mother died of cancer a short while later. We buried the sand and water with her. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega — the Beginning and the End — who is in the Small and in the Big.
The Rev. Steve Ganz is pastor of Clover Pass Community Church.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.