Lessons From a Sandcastle

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?  Matthew 7:7-12

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to the beach for a week while our children were at Cousins Camp at my parents’ house.  My son visited the beach as part of a Cousins Camp several years ago, but my daughter has never been to the beach at all.  However, she’s seen pictures in books and on TV.

She had one request.  She didn’t ask for a toy or a t-shirt or sand or shells.  She asked us to build a sandcastle for her and take a picture.  She even made little flags to go on it.

That immediately became one of our top priorities of the trip.  We very carefully packed the flags.  We bought buckets and a shovel for making the castle.  And on the first day when it wasn’t raining (although we were both still sick and feeling pretty rough), we fulfilled her one request.


For a while, I felt bad for my son.  We ended up getting them both t-shirts, but I wondered: How would he feel about us making a sandcastle for our daughter and not doing something specifically for him?  We would have gladly tried to fulfill his request, too, but he didn’t ask us for anything.

As many sermons as I’ve heard in my life, I’ve never heard one on the above verses that really answered the questions in my mind.  I’m not a “name it and claim it” person.  Clearly, we can’t expect God to simply give us every single thing for which we ask.  Otherwise, I would have married someone different (and totally wrong for me), and we’d have much different cars in our driveway.  On the other hand, I’ve heard this explained as this rather complicated-sounding process of us lining up our desires with God’s desires, and then and only then will we get what we request.  I’ve tended to believe that, and maybe to a certain extent, I still do.

But the image of that sandcastle sticks in my mind.

She asked for something, and we very happily said, “Yes!”  It wasn’t something we had already planned to do.  We didn’t simply agree to put her flags on the sandcastle we had already determined to build.

We don’t give our daughter everything she asks for.  We know that some things would be harmful to her or simply be inadvisable at this point in her life.  We do, however, try to say “yes” as often as we can because we love her, and it makes us happy to see her happy.  In fact, it made my heart happy for her to ask that in the first place!

I think God feels that same way about His children.  He doesn’t give us everything we ask for because He knows what is best.  Sometimes we ask, and He says, “No.”  But I wonder how many blessings I have missed because I haven’t bothered to ask Him or haven’t believed that He cared?  Why do I not come to Him with the same innocent belief and trust that my daughter has in me?  Oh, for grace to trust Him more….

Our son wasn’t upset about the sandcastle.  In fact, he was perfectly happy with the t-shirt he got (very similar to his sister’s).  But to what other request might we have said “yes” if he had only asked?