Every 6 hours the tides change. According to the internet, the word “tides” is a generic term used to define the alternating rise and fall in sea level with respect to the land, produced by the gravitational attraction of the moon and the sun. Twice a day there is a full cycle of high and low tides, which means every 6 hours the tide is either high and then low.
I know this as a fisherman, we follow tides religiously, studying when the tide will change each day, when the currents will go slack, and where we will go fishing is largely dictated by the tides. This is because when the tides change, a slack tide occurs and some of the best times to go fishing occur at slack tide.
If you visited the island where I work in Canada and saw only the beach at low tide you wouldn’t really know what it looks like about half the time. Conversely, if you were here at high tide, when the water is lapping at the driftwood pushed high on the Malcolm Island shore, you might think the ocean looks like a lake and wonder what the beach looks like below. No, to get a full picture of the island and its shorelines, you must witness the beach at both high and low tides. You must see when the tide is all the way out and nothing but mud and rock and seaweed remains. And you simply must experience it during high tide when the water covers over everything.
In many ways, living life well in your walk with God is understanding that like the tides, situations and experiences within your life will vary from high tide (things are great) to low tide (you feel stuck in the sludge and stench of the sea floor). A healthy perspective on reality understands that the present situation isn’t the only reality, that in time things will change. Yesterday was one of those low tide days. The fishing was tough and I was dealing with several management issues when all of a sudden, moments before hopping into the shower after working a 14 hour day already, I was informed our power was out. A transformer line had popped and our entire property was powerless, including our 13 guests and 12 staff. What’s worse is that on our property, when we lose power, we also lose running water. And that means we lose our toilets. Our drinking water. Our showers. Everything. The chefs had to prepare dinner in the dark, the fish couldn’t be packaged from that day, and no one could flush. Today we started to cook breakfast at my house at 2:45am to get ready in time for the 4am breakfast. This wasn’t fun. It wasn’t a highlight. It was difficult to remain optimistic. But I know that things change, and like the tides, I must remain hopeful for the whole picture of the life I live in God’s fullness.
When we lost our baby boy Fisher to a stillborn death, some friends of my wife asked, “How can you still believe God is good when you suffer like this?” Though we were heartbroken, and a piece of our hearts will never be the same from the grief, we never lost trust in the story God is writing with our lives. We never turned our eyes from Him. For though we were stuck in our anguish, we knew God would wash over our heart with hope, and that over time loss would be transformed into new beginnings. In Romans, Paul writes, “We were given this hope when we were saved. If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.”
Ever since December 2008 when we suffered our loss, we have experienced the high tides of new life, along with new low tides of the struggles of life. Every 6 hours things are new again. God can be trusted, and God is good, even if your present situation is “low tide.” And if things are great right now, and you are at a benchmark “high tide” level, rest in the joy of God’s goodness right now. You can trust that even if things change, God can still be trusted. This is the good news of the gospel. When people were hungry, Jesus fed them. And when people were celebrating the best times of their lives at feasts and parties, Jesus was there too. He is with us always….every 6 hours.