Playing in the Sand

Posted on July 9, 2013 | 33 comments

Just got back from a restful week at the beach. I love the ocean, it captivates the imagination – sometimes with fear of the unknown and other times with the excitement of potential.

The ocean is expansive – inconceivable to our mind in the scope of its depth and width.

It is powerful, the waves never rest, continually shaping the shore and moving things according to the will of its currents.

And as people settle in at the shore, there seems to be two common reactions to confrontation with the ocean – in both children and adults.

Some dig holes to catch the ocean water. Attempting to create a manageable portion of the ocean. Small enough to be controlled and manipulated as needed.

Others build walls to deflect the ocean water. Working as hard as possible to simply keep the ocean out.

All in an effort to protect the castle.

And as I was watching the waves continuously beat against the shore and listening to the unrelenting roar, it occurred to me that we approach God in a very similar way.

As God approaches us through His creation, through His Son, and through his Church, one response is to attempt to create a box for him like a hole at the beach.

We want a God we can contain. One we can understand and who thinks like we do.

A God that we are comfortable with, not expecting much of us and definitely not a God with whom we have to comply.

A God that we can manipulate. Who will serve our purposes and not get in the way. One who we can turn to when we need, but does not disrupt when we don’t.

Or, we build a wall. Block Him out. Live on our terms. Ignore the reality of His power that is all around us.

In either case, the castle we build is an identity based on something of this world. Answering the questions of identity – developing our sense of wholeness – apart from the Creator.

Yet, at the beach, the ocean always wins. Yesterday’s castles become today’s flat beach. The sand always conforms to the will of the water.

And the same is true of our lives.

Because we define God in terms with which we are comfortable or simply turn our back and ignore His presence, the truth is not changed.

God is there. And He is relentless. And He will knock your castle down.

We can experience this either as the exhausting slavery of building a self apart from Him or joy filled surrender of our self .

One leads to death.

The other leads to fullness of life.

Which is your tendency – hole digger or wall builder?

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  1. And we meet again…ha, this is great. So true. He is there and He is relentless! I want to surrender!

  2. Loved your message and the beautiful words. I have chosen joy, and that is why finding a blog post like this is so special. Your words are so well chosen for the lesson you learned at the beach. I can even hear the ocean waves in the rhythm of your words. Lovely!

  3. I so love the ocean too! And how true…”We want a God we can contain.” So glad we have a God bigger than that! 🙂 Blessings from UNITE, Jen

  4. This is so good, Scott! I have learned the best lessons sitting along the seashore. The continuous movement of the current reminds me of how He is always working either all things for good or toward my completion. Thank you for sharing His message to you as you experienced rest along the coast. Love, Rachael

  5. We’ve been talking a lot about surrender this week, my friends, my children, and I. Jesus said we would have abundant life, but my experience is it only through complete surrender. Your article is an accurate and well-written look at how we most often react to the Lord God. Thanks for sharing it, saw the link at Prowess and Pearls.

    Hugs ~ Mary

  6. great post

  7. Excellent metaphor! I’m thankful God is relentless. I don’t want “the exhausting slavery of building a self apart from Him.” I choose the abundant life! I’m your neighbor at the Tending the Home Tuesdays link-up. 🙂

  8. I’m definitely a “hole-digger” and try to control God with what I feel like He wants me to do. In other words, I’m always glad to lend Him a hand in how to get “His” work done because He’s often slower than I like or maybe doesn’t want to do it the way I’ve imagined! ha! So glad you had time at the beach and could bring back this treasure of an idea, Scott. What a great reminder to let God lead! I needed that today! Also, I saw an old episode of Seinfeld recently and He was doing his stand-up at the beginning, talking about how we all want to go to the ocean and get in the ocean. But that the ocean just keeps trying to spit us out–over and over again! 🙂 Thanks for joining the link up again, my friend!

  9. Nice thoughts – stay blessed!

  10. Very well written! As believers, we must understand that we can not put God in a box. We must give HIM free reign in every aspect of our life – freedom to do what HE wants when HE wants. Neither can we build a wall to shut HIM out. HE wants complete access!

  11. Thank you for sharing your lovely post here at “”Tell me a Story.” Robert and I live near a lake, but sad to say, we rarely visit it, except to drive by. And the ocean, was near by many years ago. Mom would take us for the day and we loved to play in the sand. The raging water can be fierce and dangerous and can swallow us up if we are not careful. We almost lost one of our children’s friends to the tide, but God allowed him to be released and cast back to shore. May we rest in the breeze of His quiet and still waters.

  12. What a great analogy!

  13. Thanks for sharing such a great post. Love this and will be bookmarking for future reference 🙂 Love the metaphor.

  14. I. Love. This!! I want to swim and dance and splash and laugh in the depths and greatness of the love of our Father. Thank you for sharing this post! What a refreshing read.

    Have a wonderful rest of your week! Thank you for linking up at Into the Word Wednesday.

  15. Well written. I think I’m more of a hole-digger, though I try not to be. Nice post. Found you on the Thought Provoking Thursday blog hop.

  16. Love LOVE this! It’s funny, when I’m the one wounded I find identification with the wild and warrior side of God’s nature as this is the power I lean on to fight my flesh. But when I have offended someone else, I identify with His nature that is sacrificial.

    I think my castles AND walls have been smashed to bits by our relentless God!

  17. “God is relentless.”
    And He won’t be contained in our boxes or kept behind our walls.
    Thanks for these good thoughts and thanks for sharing on TGIF.

  18. Awesome message here, bless you.

  19. Visiting and reading from @1caseycolette: Locomotion of Expressions!~

  20. That’s right God is bigger then the biggest thing we can even imagine! He can not only know down your castle, but move mountains.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing this and for visiting and linking up at Romance on a dime. Hope to see you back again!

  22. I daily surrender to Him! I am so thankful that He is a relentless God and He pursues me and wants me! So amazed and humbled that He is my Creator and Savior!!! God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

    Such a great read! Pinned it! Thanks for sharing with us at One Sharendipity Place this weekend!!

    Krys and http://www.worshipingwhilewaiting.blogspot

  23. I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven’t already this week. Your favorite posts, most popular, recent or new! The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday’s at midnight. Followed by (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday!

    I would be honored if you join us and follow to stay connected Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs, Cathy

    • Thanks for the invitation. Linked up and followed.

  24. Thank you so much for sharing & linking up at Thank You Honey’s Whatever Wednesday Party!! The party goes live every Tuesday! Let’s connect by adding me to your G+ circles or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, & Pinterest as I already did with you!

    Twitter: @thankhoney

  25. I love the expansive ocean and the depth of God that it reveals to me are incomprehensible!! Thanks for sharing over at WholeHearted Home this past week and hope to see you again this coming week.

  26. Beautiful. Thank you for a picture-perfect description of surrender today. Loved it.

  27. Beautifully said! I found you on the Raising Reagan link up and I’m so glad I did! 🙂

  28. What a beautiful message.
    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. 🙂

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  29. Enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing at the Rock ‘N Share! Blessings, D@TheShadyPorch

  30. I’m a reforming wall builder. You have such a way with words that I always leave here feeling like I’ve just enjoyed an excellent sermon. Thank you for always encouraging me to look Up. Bless you!

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement! God bless you, too.

    • Thank you for the encouragement. God bless you, too.


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