In July, my family jetted off to Hawaii for a week-long vacation. It took seven hours for our speedy American Airlines jetliner, soaring along at 500 mph, to fly from Dallas to Honolulu. That’s how remote Hawaii is.
After checking into our hotel rooms, my sisters and I headed to the beach. Before long, we were standing in the damp sand, the enormous Pacific Ocean stretching out before our eyes. As far as you could see—water. Deep, blue, restless water.
It took my breath away.
I felt so small. So vulnerable.
Kind of like gazing at a starry night sky or beholding Grand Canyon’s south rim, the sight of a vast ocean stretching out before your eyes is a moving, memorable experience. I was reminded of my total insignificance.
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” | Psalm 8:3-4
Then I noticed something else: little children were digging in the sand, crafting little walls and structures and sandcastles. They were so happy. Their parents were so proud.
But the ocean didn’t care. The waves—on and on and on they came. Swelling, rolling, cresting, breaking, crashing. As the tide came in, the waters would easily prevail, and every trace of those children’s sand creations would soon be gone.
And so it is with us.
Just like those sandcastles, we will soon be gone without a trace. It is a stunning and sobering thought, but you and I and everyone we know are swiftly marching toward oblivion. Think about all your ancestors and the millions of people who lived before us. How well are they remembered? Will our great-great-great-great-grandkids know anything about us? Will they even care?
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. | Psalm 103:15-16
Friends, in the grand scheme of things, we are like grass. Our accomplishments are like mere sandcastles. We will soon wither and pass away. Our achievements and accolades will quickly be forgotten. That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?
But then notice what the next verse in Psalm 103 says:
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him. | Psalm 103:17
There’s the silver lining.
That’s the hope we should hold close to our hearts. God is eternal. He is from everlasting to everlasting. The more we appreciate how temporary everything on earth is, the more we should cling to Him.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. | Isaiah 40:28-29
My hope for us is that we would walk daily with our eternal, heavenly Father, instead of wasting all our time and energy building sandcastles on the beach, so to speak. Investing in temporary things offers brief fulfillment, but it never lasts. Because sooner than later, the tide will come in, and they’ll be gone.