Waiting for High Tide

Waiting for High Tide

I looked into the bowls scooped out from the rocks: small barnacled baths. They were way stations for little crabs and tiny ocean life pounded shore-ways by the waves. My mom said, “They just have to wait until high tide comes to draw them back out to sea.”

“There’s something metaphoric in that,” I replied, teasing at first – but then the idea began to take shape.

Do crabs recognize when they’ve left the open ocean for a cloistered tide pool? Debatable. They likely don’t think much of it. But for me, exchanging glances between the green-foamed ocean surges to the stagnant puddles muddied by algae overgrowth, the preference was clear. I would rather remain where the excitement is.

I mean, I’m not a big adventure-seeker, but in my own way I enjoy when the world is my oyster (pun maybe sorta kinda definitely intended). When my carefully-planned and thoroughly-mapped-out risks result in success and new horizons, I still feel the thrill. I would rather endure the possible troubles of opportunity than tap my foot in a waiting room where circumstances never change.

And yet…sometimes God does push me into the tide pools.

It always seems to be right when I think my breakthrough is sure, too. So I rail at Him, “I took a leap of faith! I followed Your call and chanced a big decision, and now You have me stuck in limbo. Thanks SO much for the confirmation.” To make matters worse, I discover that while I’m buried in the rocks, I can’t see when the tide is coming back for me. Like the little crabs, I just wait without knowing.

But let us not forget: the tide is always on time.

Literally speaking, it runs on a schedule of gravitational pull, but even the tides of life must draw in and retreat according to our Maker’s preparations. It’s my choice to recognize whether there’s a purpose in each.

Maybe God gives us rest when we don’t think we need it. I’m not sure; I still mull it over. But in the tide pools I have learned that there’s very little to distract me from turning to my Savior. It’s a time of immanent intimacy, where God must be all or I have nothing. Just bits of algae for recourse.

There will be time for oceans. Life is not all about opportunity. Sometimes it’s about us little crabs understanding that in plenty or scarcity, there is still always Enough.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;

You make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

Surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5-6

For When the Answers Take Forever

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My heroes are the people who have to wait.

In Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet the protagonist Brian has a survival mantra: self-pity does no good. Waiting in the wilderness, he had to live with what he had handy and be content – even savvy – with nothing but bare essentials.

Frog in Chrono Trigger had to wait ten years to avenge a friend’s death, and even longer to be freed of his own curse. That’s what makes his character stick with me the longest out of a game with a widely endearing cast.

In Scripture there’s the stories of Sara, Ruth (and Boaz), Hannah, Elizabeth, the woman who bled for years, the many lame and blind healed by Jesus, Saul who became Paul – all of them given a time to wait without answer.

I see modern-day waiters who parallel the Biblical figures: waiting for companionship, waiting for children, waiting for healing, waiting for a call. It takes steady faith to press ahead and trust when God seems to be repeating “No”.

What do we do with the rescue plane doesn’t come? When the curse isn’t lifted? When we send up prayers that return back to us empty?

We take courage. We work. We examine what God holds out in His hands for us and say, thankfully, “What can I do with this, with what I have this moment?”

It’s not easy. I’m not saying it is. How many nights have I fallen asleep numb from waiting for someone to love? How many mornings have I woken up sunk down in the unfriendly quiet that smothers me as soon as the alarm clock shuts off? Many times I’ve wussed out and said, “I’m done, Jesus.”

But as Brian would chime in: self-pity does no good. Literally! What’s the use in sitting to sulk? Better instead to struggle against every enemy who wants to keep you from the Kingdom – what we all wait for, in the end.

So build that fire from sticks and sparks. Defeat the warlock despite every disadvantage stacked against you. Pray – pray and pray and pray even while people call you a fool and tell you God’ s not true if He hasn’t answered you yet.

Because just you wait. WAIT. Time is the fire in which we are forged.