Anyone who lives or works around the ocean knows the importance of tides. Rarely one gets to see the ocean so calm that you can see reflections in it, but a "slack tide" is that period when the ocean is balanced between high and low tidal movements--where it no longer moves.
When we last went on a fishing charter at Seward, the boat captain was inexperienced and didn't wait for that time; we ended up with a lot of tangled lines and no fish!
(Psalm 46:10) "Be still and know that I am God...."
This morning I woke at 3am and looked outside my bedside window. It was not really dark, just a twilight...but so incredibly peaceful; there was a stillness and beauty in the silence. Only the tallest trees had a slight movement as a gentle breeze touched ever so softly. It was like God moving in tiptoes, so as to not disturb the sleep of His creation.
"He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing..."
Even birds hear silence. It is beautiful. It is sweet. It refreshes our soul.
"The Lord is in His temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him."
But I almost missed my "slack time". Before I knew it, my attention was diverted to worries and anxious thoughts; the waves increased, and soon there was a definite flow of waves coming in. It was me, not the moon, that had invited that tide to return.
My pastor, Peter, went down with some relatives to the Kenai peninsula on a camping trip. But while others fished, clamed, and had fun hiking and beachcombing, Peter and his brother-in-law just sat and did nothing. The refreshing was so evident when he returned; there was a definite joy and peace--a release from the pressures, and he talked about it like someone might speak of having been healed. Which he had.
The world constantly pounds on our door. The noise is confusion and distress. Problems and fears hound us and roar like lions on the prowl. Like everyone else, I am sometimes caught in the whirlpool of life in which there seems to be no escape. It is in the morass of daily business and concerns that we can find ourselves feeling swallowed up and buried alive. Yet God has not vanished, but by our neglect to yield our time to Him we pay a consequence which makes us feel that way. Always a gentleman--never intrusive, the Holy Spirit calmly waits for our return and the embrace of His presence. That encounter always lifts the burdens from our shoulders, removes our sandals, and while we sit weeping, He pours water on our tired and dusty feet and lovingly wipes them with a towel. We have come into His house as an invited and honored guest, and He has proven Himself an awesome host.
So it is strange that I could ever avoid those times, and yet I know why I sometimes do: Once inside, there is always the first order of business: Me.
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." (Psalm 24:3-4)
We cannot see our image in moving waters. The things that trouble our minds with fear or with unconfessed sin keep those waters moving and swirling about us. There must be an admittance and a confession of our sins and short-comings for us to see ourselves as God see us, and to do that, He purposely leads us beside "still waters". It is that silence, that stillness, that draws us to Him. Only then can we begin to hear that "holy hush" and our soul is restored.
Paul wrote, "I die daily." He knew.
So many people live their lives from birth to death, having never regained what it was they lost when childhood innocence left them. They just know it was a fun time of wonderment and of questioning things, yet never really needing the answers, because they had trust--trust that didn't require it. And you and I can only regain that trust again through our times beside those still waters, where silence reduces us to the lowest point of humility and we become one with the peace that passes understanding-- a perfect place to try skipping a few rocks and seeing them dance across the surface as we become like a litle child once again.
For calm waters are the only place it can happen...
MARY E. ADAMS