Castles in the Sand

Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them,
will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house;
and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Matthew 7:26-27

Beaches are such lovely retreats. We go to them on vacation, and we dream about them the rest of the year to escape the daily grind of work. We often think of beaches when we hear the word paradise.

I grew up along the Clearwater River in Idaho. Our house overlooked the river and a long stretch of white sand. Our family spent many happy summers at the beach.

Unfortunately, that beach no longer exists. Years ago, a dam was built upriver, changing the high water mark on its banks. Then a bridge was built next to the beach. The water currents changed, so much of the white sand washed away. Now only rocks remain on the bank.

That’s the nature of sand. It moves under pressure. That’s why Jesus said a beach is no place to put a building you want to stand the test of time.

What child hasn’t spent hours of delight crafting a fortress from wet sand and watching as the tide rose and swept away his work? Sand castles are childish diversions, never intended for habitation or protection from the elements. They won’t survive stormy weather. When the water rises, they dissolve at our feet.

And yet, don’t we all build our own little gritty castles around us—the “harmless” man-made paradises we run to when we’re low? Sin is an easy house to build, but the illusion of escape it provides melts away when the wind rises.

In the end, we’re left to face the storms alone. Unprotected. Caregiving is a hard job. Other people don’t understand the commitment of time, resources, and emotion it demands. Simple joys like vacations, or even a day to ourselves, are often beyond our reach. It would be easy to allow self-pity to turn into a sense of entitlement and give ourselves permission to indulge in escapes that grieve the heart of God.

He longs to be the one we flee to for comfort and protection. Although we cannot see Him, His fortress is real. It’s as secure as it gets.

Unlike our castles of sand, His stronghold is built upon the Rock, immovable and impervious to anything this world can rain down upon it. In God’s castle, we are always safe. Let’s give Him our pails and shovels and brush the sand off our knees.

The tide is coming in.

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below.

What types of castles are you building, and will they survive?

by Pam Thorson

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Pam was born at the Millington Naval Base outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the first child of a Wisconsin navy seaman and a Southern belle. Her early life was marked by many moves around the country as her father pursued a career in broadcasting. After traveling throughout the deep South and the Pacific Northwest, the family finally settled on the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) reservation in Idaho. Pam met her wonderful husband during college, set her roots down deep along the banks of the Clearwater River, and happily began a home and family. Pam and Aaron educated all five of their children at home. They began homeschooling in 1982 and graduated their youngest daughter in 2006. Pam and Aaron have been married forty-one years. They have five grown children, two sets of precious in-laws, and two beautiful granddaughters. Pam has long loved to write. She began writing for the local college newspaper and homeschooling group. Later she authored many devotionals for her church and an article for Evangel. In 2008 she wrote Song in the Night, the true account of her son’s injury in Canada, their fight to keep the doctors from pulling the plug, and the subsequent journey back home. Her second book is due for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in early 2014. In 2000, Pam became certified as a nurses’ aide to care for their injured son. She and her family have operated a certified family home licensed by the state of Idaho since 2000. In 2011, she completed the practical nurse program at Walla Walla Community College and earned her license as an LPN. Her conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1975 set her on a journey with her Savior spanning nearly four decades. Her love for and devotion to life has come from this association with her Creator. Pam adores her husband, her family, and friends. She enjoys her beautiful little log home, good coffee, the sound of the river at night, and just about any kind of Christian music.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.