One of the things we check before heading off to the beach is the tide chart to determine when high and low tides will occur that day. You are probably thinking – does it really matter? We like to collect shells and the best time for shell collecting is usually about an hour before and after low tide, so knowing the tides gives us a plan for beachcombing. And besides, I (Dave) like to know those kinds of things; that is just how my mind works.
The tides are caused by the gravitational attraction of the ocean’s water to the sun and the moon, and there are two tidal bulges every lunar day (the time it takes for the moon to make one full rotation on its axis) with two high tides and two low tides. Because a lunar day (24 hours and 50 minutes) is longer than a solar day, the tides are not exactly 6 hours apart. You might not be aware that there is a third tide, called a slack tide. This is the short period of time when there is no movement either way in the tidal stream, before the direction of the tide changes. The two phases of the tide are called ebb and flow, with the ebb being when the water drains way from the shore and the flow being when the water rises again.
Just as it is with the tides, our faith journey also has ebbs and flows. Some days (weeks, months) it seems as if we are in sync with God and our faith is flowing, while at other periods of time we feel as it our faith is ebbing, draining away from God. And isn’t it also true that we have those “slack tide” periods too, when we just seem to be stuck in park.
While our faith constantly ebbs and flows, God never changes. He is continually working to carry out His plans and purposes, even when we don’t see it of feel it. Jesus, when questioned by Jewish leaders as to why He was doing things on the Sabbath replied this way, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (Jn 5:17) And elsewhere in the New Testament, in Romans 8:28, we find these familiar words, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes.”
So today, regardless of whether you feel close to God or very distant, whether your tide is rising or falling, you can rest assured that God is at work and He is in control, and He is calling you to simply trust in Him and His plans!
New Bern, North Carolina