On our second trip out onto the beach that day, she made the inevitable discovery that the sand castle she and her daddy had worked so hard to build had disappeared. She walked in circles around the spot where it should have been, the question flashing in her eyes: “Where did it go?”
And I did my best to explain. The waves come in and go out, rolling and crashing over everything in their path. Nothing can remain, for it is their destiny to ensure a fresh new beginning every day. sand castles…picnic remains…shells…all are washed away as the waves do what they do.
“The waves make a new beginning. They wipe everything clean so we can start over new.”
She seemed to accept that answer, and went about the important business of collecting every shell on the beach into her pink bucket. She stopped for just a moment, tracing her little finger through the damp sand.
“It’s a cross, Mama. So everyone can think about Jesus. I know it’ll be gone soon, but it’s there now. They can think about Jesus now.”
And back into the waves she went, rinsing her broken shell treasures and taunting the tide as it rolled back and forth.
The next morning I went out onto the beach as I always do. It was early, the sun’s rays casting golden across the sand, and the silhouettes of a few early risers dotted the horizon. I descended the stairs and made the turn to my left to walk toward the sun. And as I did, my eyes fell on the ground and a clear picture there in the sand.
Her cross. It remained.
The smoothness of the sand around it showed just where the tide had come. It had reached just to the bottom and had receded. High tide had stopped and retreated before the indelible mark of the cross could be erased.
And I smiled. First it was the smile of a mama, that her little drawing had somehow beat the odds and survived the night. But then, it was the smile of a child…a child who suddenly understands with perfect clarity what she thought she had already known. A child whose Father has finally explained something in a way she can understand.
Every new beginning starts at the foot of the cross.
And it was perfectly clear to me there. If anything is to begin afresh, it must first come to the cross. It is only there that old things can become new again…that the marks of yesterday can be cleared away for a new today.
If there is to be a new beginning – a fresh start – a brand new day, everything must come to the foot of the cross.
There, at the place that initially meant death, we find life. We find something new. We find something altogether different. Everything else is washed away, and only the cross and all that it represents remains.
We bring our brokenness…our disappointments…our pain. We bring our marriages…our families…our children. We bring our dreams…our careers…our hopes. We bring them there and lay them down.
There, at the foot of the cross, broken things are mended. Old things are wiped away. There, all things are made new.