“Clearwater Beach, Clearwater Beach/Jesus loves Clearwater Beach/Every day in every way/ Jesus loves the people on Clearwater Beach.”
That’s the chorus to the song God gave me when I went to Clearwater Beach again on Good Friday to sing some Jesus songs to the tourists walking by. Once again I rode my bike over the Highway 60 bridge and went to the same spot as the week before—right in front of where buses and cars stop to unload people.
It was at least three times as crowded as my last visit.
While waves hit shore many yards behind me, another kind of wave swept over me. I felt overwhelmed with love for all the people walking by.
In years past I saw the spring break crowd as a rowdy group of people I would rather avoid. But as I sang songs to them and over them and around them, all I could think of and feel is, “I love these people so much.” I believe Jesus was showing me how He felt about them.
I found myself making eye contact, smiling, and even saying a hearty “God bless you” with my mike on between songs as people walked by.
While I sang in the sunshine beneath the blue sky which God so graciously provided that day, He healed me of my judgmental attitude toward this crowd of people—even scantily clad individuals, those having too much to drink, and those having as their highest goal “to have fun and get a great tan.” I was that way once, I was reminded.
Some heckled me as they walked by mimicking my voice and mocking my singing or saying sarcastically such things as, “That’s a beautiful song.” With the young man who said that, I answered, “You’re beautiful. God bless you.” This kind of boldness does not come naturally for me. In fact, when people have made fun of me as a singer/guitarist in the past I’ve become silent and wanted to withdraw and proclaim, “I shouldn’t be here doing this. I’m not good enough. I can barely sing and play the guitar. What was I thinking?”
But I realized that whenever someone said or did something to put me down, they were being touched by the song or avoiding being moved by it. I noticed that when a guy who was part of a couple would say something, the girl he was with would give me a shy smile and a look that said, “Pay no attention to him.” I’m sure alcohol was a factor.
At one point a group of intoxicated young men knocked over my stand and my music was scattered. They were too drunk to put the stand back together, but even they touched my heart deeply, and I felt such love and sang for them as they walked away.
The bottom line is that God was absolutely curing me of fearing what people thought of me and of negative thoughts I had toward others. I didn’t care if they thought I sounded awful or were not pleased by the kind of songs I was singing, because I knew I was where God wanted me to be doing what God wanted me to do, imperfect as it may have sounded since I was still adjusting to singing outside.
There were people who communicated they were blessed. Some gave donations. One lady and her male friend were waiting for a bus, and she said while sitting on the curb, “I’ve let two buses go by,” because she said she was so enjoying the music. She had a bird on her shoulder–a beautiful Sun Conure. How I wish I had taken a photo of the two of them.
After a while it seemed the bird was trying to sing along with me. I thought it was just my imagination until she said, “Did you notice my bird is singing along?” The lady was moving in time to the music and said, “I needed that” when I would finish a song while her friend who sat to my right clapped enthusiastically.
The highlight of my time on the beach was when two young men sat down near me. I braced myself for them making fun of me, but instead one of them said, “My grandma would love you. You remind me of her.”
We talked for a while, and I found out James and Brian were brothers in their twenties who were originally from California and whose grandma still lived there. Brian had recently moved to Florida, and James was in the army soon to be transferred to Hawaii.
I wished I was their grandma, I thought as I talked to them. They were so hungry for the Lord, and to know more about Him. Their grandma was a Christian they told me, and I’m sure she had talked to them often about spiritual matters.
“But we still don’t understand,” one said and the other agreed. “It’s hard when you can’t see God.”
We talked, and I gave them my testimony and what led to me receiving Jesus as Savior. I prayed for them for greater understanding of the salvation message and for faith to believe it and receive Jesus as Savior. Another little song had come to my mind moments earlier, and I incorporated it into the prayer I said for them. It came as an offshoot of the song, “Open the eyes of my heart.” It went like this, “Open their eyes. Open their ears. Open their minds and their hearts. Help them to see; help them to hear. Help them to know who You are.”
I gave James and Brian some pass-it-on cards and bookmarks about Jesus that I was passing out, and they thanked me profusely. We hugged before they left, and I felt so privileged to have met them. I wanted to “seal the deal,” but I sensed they weren’t ready, but would be soon. I felt certain they’d come to know Jesus as their Savior before too long and would live their lives serving Him. I encouraged them to talk to their grandma more about the Lord. They said they would.
My contact info was on one of the cards I gave them, and I urged them to write to me. They said “yes, we will.” We’ll see.
I thought I was going to the beach to move and touch others. What an extra blessing God gave me as He moved, touched and transformed me. He is so good.
How about you? Are you continuing to receive an urging from the Lord but have not yet responded? Say “yes” and be blessed.
Here’s one of the songs I sang on Friday—one of my favorites–“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”
Please join me in praying for James and Brian that they will receive Jesus as Savior soon.