Her sandcastle is almost complete. “Hey!” she yells indignantly as the waves come up to carry it away. “Hey!” she screams again as if the ocean acknowledges the desperate pleas of a mere child. Naivety and innocence seem cruel deceivers as she begrudgingly submits to defeat.
For a moment, time stands still. A little girl’s demand at the deaf deluge pulls back the curtain on the spiritual. I consider the contrast between God’s grace and my whimsical demands. I quell her disappointment with a hug. The flood becomes my eyes as the character of a God far bigger than the ocean reminds me of his great mercy.
I am the little girl building and bargaining. I am the child, unwise and oblivious, pouring all I have into the futility of sinking sand. Entitled, I am the angry toddler begging that my bucket loads of broken pebbles would not be buried.
But buried they must be, lest I trust in them. No matter, because my vast ocean hears my “Hey!” He envelopes me. He is never deaf. Despite his deity, he acknowledges my disappointment like a mother – a father – he quells my fears and failures with his ever proximal presence.
Later, the little girl carries her light to look for crabs. When the covering of crustaceans is made clear to her, she screams. She grabs my once unwanted hand and cuddles close. She wants carried. She clutches her tiny light and she cries out. She shines it to the sky avoiding what’s on the ground beneath. The brightness fails to reach up, but a grand array of stars reach down. She wants to go home but she must wait for Daddy’s word.
She is me. So unaware. So dull. So ready to walk alone until she is shown what waits fast under her feet in the darkness. Her frailty is revealed in her fear and she fumbles for faith. She grasps the little light she has and she tries to force it far enough to find favor. Just then favor finds her. Favor reaches down. Favor forgives. Father. Father allows her to fit fully in his lap until he gives word that she can finally go home.
The house I built on the sand may have fallen far away. My castle, my kingdom must have come down. But the ocean heard my “Hey!” and my Father came to save.