By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:19
Growing up on my island home of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, I always looked forward to those special occasions (birthdays, carnivals, national and local holidays) that prompted my mom and other family members to celebrate them at the beach. These gatherings meant lots of cousins and friends to play with. It also meant putting on my favorite bathing trunks and grabbing a beach towel, a swimming mask, and a bucket and shovel to make sandcastles and forts. But should I forget the bucket and shovel (I never had one of those fancy castle molds), a couple of plastic or paper drinking cups would do.
Every sandcastle is unique. No matter how out of proportion or lopsided it may appear, the completed project is viewed with great admiration and pride not only by its creator but especially by mom and/or dad.
Sandcastles are so much fun to make and if you build them away from the shore they can last for the entire time you are at the beach. But if you chose to build them close to the water, be prepared for those unpredictable rushing waves to come crashing through and quickly wash out your masterpiece!
In all due modesty, I think my sandcastles were always the best on the beach. Well, so it was said. I suppose my creative talent was evident since childhood. However, they were no way near the breath-taking creations made by actual sculptors.
Back then I was not attracted to lighthouses as much as I am today. So, when I come across images of sand lighthouses like the one featured on this post and those pictured below, it puts a BIG smile on my face and makes me want to see if my talents include sculpting techniques. Perhaps I’ll give it a try this summer!
Sandcastles and sand lighthouses remind me of how the Almighty Sculptor, Architect, and Designer, took the time to masterly create man out of dust [Read Fearfully and Wonderfully Designed]. Yet, even in all its splendor, beauty, and strength, the human body is not perpetually immaculate. Its youthful appearance eventually fades away, its alluring beauty is but transient, and its unabated vigor slowly diminishes.
Like a sandcastle to its builder, each and every one of us is a unique and special masterpiece to our Creator [Read He is The Painter we Are His Glow]. But because of sin, our bodies have become like temporary sand structures. And even though some of us will remain standing a lot longer than others, if we are not careful as to where we build our moral and spiritual foundation, we will be overtaken by the merciless waves of worldliness and/or the inevitable winds of adversity and collapse much sooner than expected.
In order to stand strong against the rising tide of ungodliness in the world, we must first choose to build our faith on a secure foundation, namely Jesus. This means that no matter how righteous or “moral” any given secular system may appear, we cannot trust it to guide us in the right direction. But rather, we must put all of our trust in the redemptive work of Christ and in the promise that He will be our protector, provider, defender, and salvation. We must then continue to strengthen our faith by faithfully committing to biblical disciplines.
No matter how appealing and tempting it may look to build on the shores of materialistic comfort and security we must avoid it at all cost. For such a foundation will eventually disintegrate in the torrent of disappointment and deceit, leaving us defenseless against the cruel elements (trials) of life.
So how about if the next time you go to the beach (or see an image of it) you let your childhood instinct kick in for a little while and build (or imagine yourself building) a sandcastle or lighthouse! As you work with the sand, think of how God gathered dust from the ground and formed the first human being. Think of how every cell, organ, and membrane was set in its place and began functioning as He breathed life into that body. Think of how He then gave man the ability to procreate and how He continues to intricately form us in the wombs of our mothers. Think of how amazing, yet fragile, the human body is and how it eventually decays to point of returning to the dust from which it came.
I pray that such reflections cause you to truly be grateful for the life within you and the opportunity God has granted you be a part of His eternal plan. I pray it causes you to consider your eternal destiny as well, and as a result draw closer to your Creator. I pray it reminds you that from dust you came and to dust you will return so that you are encouraged to live a life making joyful lasting memories. But above all, I pray that you realize that this life is only worth living when you know, love, and serve the One who gave it to you. His plan for you is perfect. His love for you is immeasurable. His mercy and grace over you are endless. Knowing this, how are you then to respond to His gift of life?
Prayer: Oh heavenly Father, I stand in awe of your awesome creative power. Thank you for allowing my body to be formed and made alive by your breath of life. You have numbered my days upon this earth. For this reason, I desire nothing more than to live a life worthy of your mercy and love. I stand firmly on the Rock, which is Jesus, and know that you will see me through all the storms of life. In His precious name, I pray, Amen!
“You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother’s body. How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well. None of my bones was hidden from you when you made me inside my mother’s body. That place was as dark as the deepest parts of the earth. When you were putting me together there, your eyes saw my body even before it was formed. You planned how many days I would live. You wrote down the number of them in your book before I had lived through even one of them.” – Psalm 139:13-16
“So the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:14
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” – Psalm 57:2 ESV
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;” – Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.
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