Last week, I was vacationing with my family in the Caribbean, and my sister and I were frolicking on the beach, taking pictures, swimming, jumping in and out of the waves, and running along the sand. It was one of those moments of pure bliss. Then my sister began to write in the sand. She wrote “Life is beautiful.” Then took a cool picture and posted it on Instagram. Following suit, I wrote “Love” in the sand and quickly captured the picture.
Then, without much thought I began to write “Hope” in the sand next to our other words. As I was writing, a man walked by and made a comment as I was writing the word. I didn’t actually hear what he said; I just smiled and kept writing “Hope” in the sand. A few minutes later, as I was just about to snap a few pictures of my word, the same man came by again.
This time he stopped and said, “Oh, so that’s what you were writing, ‘Hope’. Can you tell me about that?”
I stood there dazed for a minute, was this man seriously asking me to explain hope? After processing his question, I began to explain hope to him, “Really, it’s simple; hope is everything. Without hope, we don’t have a reason to get up in the morning.”
He looked at me puzzled for a second, and then responded, “Where do you get your hope from?”
It was at that moment that I knew without a doubt the only answer to his question.
We talked for another 15 minutes about God, Jesus, salvation and eternity. He asked questions about my faith, and as I answered them, I felt more and more empowered, and I knew that it wasn’t me speaking but God through me. While we were talking his young daughter nearly stepped on my sand drawing, and he stopped her saying, “No sweetie, don’t step there that’s very important. In fact, it’s everything.”
A few seconds later, I looked down and noticed the little girl writing “hope” next to my drawing. Her father smiled with tears in his eyes.
When we finished our conversation, I walked back to my lounge chair. A few minutes later the man reappeared. He apologized for bothering me again, but the words he spoke were so sincere and real as if God himself were speaking them. “You know how everything happens for a reason. I know why I came on this vacation. Not to eat good food, swim in the beach, shop, or hang out. There was a reason I was on this beach feeding these fish at this moment. That reason was to come across the “hope” in the sand. You have changed my life. Now I have a reason to keep going and keep living.”
That encounter changed my life as much as his. A reminder that even something as simple as writing in the sand can change someone’s life, and really hope is all there is. Hope for eternity, hope for a better world, hope for peace, hope for love, hope for change, hope for people, hope in God, hope for tomorrow.