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High tides...Low tides

We started this new year with some new devotional books - this thought was spurred on by a sentence in Swindol's book. Len took the time to write a short article about his experiences with high and low tides. We hope this will encourage our readers....

Low tides ………………. High tides

The concept of low and high tides being like emotions we read in Charles Swindoll’s, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life

As I write this we are living on an Island. The Island of England, Wales and Scotland, a part of the British Isles. Around Islands and on the shores of country’s there is the effect of tides, the crashing of waves and the movement of water ordained by God in the mechanisms of the sun and moon and the movement of the earth.

We have taken guests, to Sanctuary, to the southern coast of England to an area we first saw in the summer of 1998 after first coming to Europe, Germany as missionaries. For the first summer vacation we wanted to be in the English-speaking world, and we came to Brighton. From there we went to the beach and the beach we liked the most is known as the Seven Sisters, between Birling Gap and Seaford. Sometimes we catch ourselves staring out to sea on the shore listening to the crashing of waves as we see the tide receding or of its coming in. There is something that we each seem to gain perspective from just by being there. We and our guests are not really thinking of the how but of experiencing the paradigm shift of our normal experience as we hear and see and smell the experience of being on the shore.

This experience is not just known from England. In my lifetime, starting from a young age, I have experienced the sandy seashore from a few wonderful family vacations on a spot my Parents Mission had in Hua Hin, on the Gulf of Siam. Here the low tide meant a longer sandy beach and high tide meant the possibility of stinging jelly fish. I have experienced the New England shores of Massachusetts and Connecticut, the are that my Parents grew up in. The great times of family of my brothers and cousins to times with my family and cousins sometimes in surf and sometimes sitting or standing in the dunes to watch the tides and listen to God. Mary and I have experienced the shores of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island while camping after we were married. Red sandy beaches and hearing the waves from our campsites. We have experienced the shore from the West Coast as we experienced the great tides evident around Vancouver as when the tide is out the beach is vast and long into the cove, but when it comes in one needs to be careful to get to safety quickly.

Tides of life are experiences that we can appreciate as we resonate with a cycle of experiences that move with the rhythm of life. Recently this idea of the tide has resonated in our thinking as we think about our seasons of life, the times of our past living that brought us to and form the present we can see, both the ebb and flow of living from the past that have allowed us to be present and active in life now and this has happened as we have grown through each of the lows and highs of life. Low Tide and High Tide. Within the context of the time and experience we can each have experienced a plus or a minus. As a child the high tide at Hua Hin meant that I got a jelly fish sting on my left knee which I still have a scar to this day. Yet the overall experience of the time by the shore is a major plus in our lives then and great memories in my mind to this day 56 years later.

The weather and the time of year, early January in England contribute to a perception of what may be happening below the surface of our thinking. We find that for some reason that January and February have tended to be times in our lives that have reflected a low tide

period or season in our lives. Our hearts after the ‘high tide’, the high lift and experience of Christmas and all the expectations and cultural and festive occasions to participate in, methodically recede into a time of not much happening. As a result, we may gravitate to a melancholy of spirit, a “flat” experience, C19 lockdown, restricted access for face-to-face interaction that seems to stew within ourselves with that which we think about but don’t vocalize. But just as the tide in the oceans need to come and go, let us be reminded that Jesus is constant. We may experience the low tide, but we should have the presence of mind to know that the high tide is coming again. We also should resurrect the memories of how the Lord has kept us going, got us through, shown us His love while we were in a low tide. And we should appreciate the lessons learned in the past as a result of the low tide as it didn’t wallow in the pattern moving back through a growth learning season towards a high tide of thinking and living.

Low tides and high tides can be painful and they can be great learning times even though the pain of them allows us to remember in the future how essential it was to experience them. Without the changing dynamic of the oceans it would grow boring not to see change regularly. The experience learned in the act of doing and living give us the benchmark to determine a growth or success. We need to see where we have come from, the lessons learned, how we may have failed or not met the target goal and decided to dig deeper, depend on God more and to ask God for His help to succeed – these help us to celebrate and remember those times as essential in our living. As we reflect on the constant action of the tides from one low to the next high, constantly changing and moving, the action, in reality, is always moving forward. Without the tides of the ocean so much more would fail in balance of the Earth and all that is in it. The high tide to the low tide to the high tide and so forth can remind us that we can keep going. As we recognize that God is behind the tides we can remember that God is with us in the low tides and the learning experience that builds to a high tide. Also we see that God’s work is never done. God continues to pull for us and guide us and direct us, even when we don’t consciously think about the actions that God is doing on our behalf.

II Corinthians 1: 3-4 in the Message says

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all Mercy! God of all healing counsel! God comes along side us when we go through hard times, and before we know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

We need to have the conviction of mind from experience and trust in God that He is not finished with us at any time. There is always more for us to grow in and experience.

II Corinthians 4 16-18 goes further to remind us,

“So we’re not giving up. How can we? Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding Grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There is far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

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