Sand on the Seashore

Sand carver Shanin works on a sculpture during the Sand Sculpture Festival "Disney Sand Magic" in OstendHave you ever wanted to visit Cinderella’s castle, stand side-by-side with Captain America, or get investment advice from the curmudgeonly Scrooge McDuck? If so, you might want to schedule a vacation to Belgium.

Sand sculptor enthusiasts have transformed a beach in Belgium into a giant sand gallery of larger-than-life characters.  Visitors to the beach will see the super heroes and cartoon characters who were part of their childhood fantasies.

The Sand Sculpture Festival of Ostend, Belgium, is scheduled to run until September’ unless, a character flaw is revealed.  Each of these sculptures has an Achille’s heel; they are made of sand, and can easily fall prey to a drenching thunderstorm.

The same is true with anyone who tries to build a life on an unstable foundation.  Are you trying to build on a solid rock or shifting sand? Jesus said: Whoever hears these words of Mine and does them, will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain came down. The water came up. The wind blew and hit the house. The house did not fall because it was built on rock.  Whoever hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. ~Matthew 7:24-25

castle

Is It Well With Your Soul?

When I went to bed last night, the words of a song were on my mind. Since I was still thinking of this song when I woke up this morning, I thought I would share them with you:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

While you might know these words, you may not know the story behind them. They are the result of six words that were written by Horatio Spafford (1828-1888), who was a successful realtor and lawyer in Chicago. At the height of his success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered several tragic losses. The first of these was the death of their young son, and shortly thereafter, most of Spafford’s real estate holdings were destroyed during the Chicago fire of 1871.

Two years later Spafford decided to take his family to Europe. Due to some last minute business, he was detained, so he sent his family ahead of him. A couple of days later, he was notified that his family’s ship had been in a collision, and his four daughters had drowned.

Spafford took the next boat to England so he could comfort his grieving wife. As he sailed across the Atlantic, he wrote six words: “When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul.”

A few years later, a songwriter named Phillip Bliss, took those six words and wrote the now famous hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. The song captured the essence of Spafford’s calm in the storm—the peace of God that attended his soul.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of this when he said: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You (26:3).”
Even though he had suffered the untimely death of his children, and his financial empire had been burned, his faith was not shaken—Spafford’s mind stayed on God; peace prevailed; and, it was well with his soul.