Sunday, August 18, 2013

An Ocean of Stories: The Two Towers

I hadn’t seen a water-dripped castle in a very long time. This effect caused the castle to look like two ancient and worn monoliths. Eroded over time by water and wind.  In the bright, hot sun they almost looked out of place. Certainly they were not your typical castles of sand. They were not made with preformed molds and plastic buckets. They weren’t square or even exactly round. The two towers protruded up out of the sand—momentary monuments of someone’s efforts and time.

The castle mesmerized me. I studied it. From every angle. It wasn’t elaborate. It wasn’t intricate. It wasn’t complicated. It was simple.

Its architects, however, were gone. Not a trace of them remained other than the two towers rising out of the sand.

We reclined in our beach chairs, low to the ground, and watched the people on the beach around us. The sun beat down, but a breeze was blowing (because of the coming storm) and it kept our skin cool.

Two gangly boys kept walking past us. Maybe nine or ten years old. Shirtless and barefoot. Their swimming trunks hung from their narrow athletic bodies and their heads were crowned with blond tousled messes. Their knees and shoulders and elbows were knobby angles. Their feet were already too big for their bodies. They ambled across the beach kicking sand.  Their meandering always brought them around to the castle. Each time they made a pass they would stop and look a little longer. At first I thought they were the builders, but soon their attitudes told me differently.

As I watched them I knew what was going to happen. You do too. These boys were contemplating knocking the two towers down. I felt coming. On the third or fourth pass one boy, the taller one, flung out his arm and took off the top half of one of the towers.  

I winced.

The second boy joined the first. Another flat-handed hit and the bridge fell. Another and the top of the second tower fell. Then with four or five arm swings and strategic kicks they leveled the sand castle. Nothing remained but a hollow and gaping hole.

As I watched I felt very sorry for the builders. I hoped they weren’t witnessing the boys’ free-for-all.What I really wanted was for them to be far down the beach or on their way home.

Nonchalantly the boys walked away. They never looked back. Not once.

It wasn’t their castle. They had nothing invested in the designing or the building of it. They knew it would collapse easily.

I understand that this was just a sand castle. These were just young boys. Anyone who builds a castle on the beach knows that at some point the castle will be gone. It’s inevitable. It is a sad, but true code of the beach.

But what caused me to pause was the bent toward destruction. What disturbed me was this nonchalant annihilation of someone else’s architectural endeavors.

I realized that at some point in life we have someone in our lives who destroys our dreams or we destroy someone else’s dreams. Occasionally we are just simply a bystander. But all of us at one time or another have knocked someone’s castle down or have experienced partial or a complete demolition of our own.  

We spend time building these elaborate dreams—shaky structures attesting to our goals and ambitions. We take the risk; we take the chance that they might remain for a little while. But the counter chance of this is that someone or something will come and tear down or even destroy these castles of ours.

Perhaps maliciously. Maybe haphazardly. Possibly just an accident.  

People’s dreams are fragile—like water dripped from cupped hands building frail monuments of grainy sand and salty water.  

More than anyone our enemy knows the frailty and instability of our castles. This enemy understands and is bent on destruction. He wants to level the desires and hopes of our hearts. He wants to knock our castles down and leave gaping, hollow holes. He comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. That’s his purpose. That’s his goal. It will not be haphazard. It will not be accidental. It will be malicious. It will be intentional.

Jesus warned us about the enemy and his intentions. He instructed us to build not on sand, but on rock. He asserted that the foundation is the most vital and important element in any structure.

Friends, if we are going to build castles and towers then let us build on something substantial and stable and strong. Let us build on Him. On His Word.

Storms, rains, streams, wind and little boys will come. The enemy will meander along our beaches. 

Please, dear Friends, please don't quit building. Don't stop the slow water-dripping of dreams. We have to build anyway. 

But know and count and stand on this: the enemy cannot destroy what has been built on rock. He cannot level what has been established on God’s promises, on his mercies and on his grace.  


No comments: