The Changing of the Tides and the Steadfastness of the Shore

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The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Isaiah 40:8


I spent the past week at the beach. In fact, I’m writing this as I sit on the balcony of the condo, listening to the waves roll in. If you listen close enough, there is a deep roar that ebbs and flows, capped by the wash of waves as they arrive on the shore. Today there is a warning for riptides.

There is so much to take in and appreciate at the beach. It’s awe-inspiring to think that our God made such a vast display of beauty. The ocean is such an incredible thing to me. I just don’t think that I will ever not stand in awe of it.

In the mornings, there’s almost a different air at the beach. Mornings are like this anywhere, really. Part of it is because no one is much stirring, but it’s more than that, too. There is a still and calmness in the atmosphere. Then the sun comes out, the day gets hot, and the ocean gleams a brilliant blue, reflecting the sun’s yellow glare. And in the evenings, the temperatures cool and the sunsets seem to last for hours. This is my favorite time of day. Reds, yellows, pinks, purples, and various shades of blue streak the sky as the sun dips down into the ocean, and the changing of these colors creates a constantly moving painting.

The beach is such a perfect symbol of change, of steadfastness, and of a constant renewing.

With the ocean, the tides are coming in, or they’re moving out. The water is rough one day and calmer the next. The sea is a deep dark blue then it’s a shade of light foam green. Meanwhile, the shore is steadfast. The tides come and go, the water rushes or ripples, and the color may vacillate, but the shore’s foundation remains. Some may view the shore as shifting because of the sand, but I’d argue that it’s renewing. As the ocean changes, so, too, the shore adapts though it does not cave in or sweep out to sea.

Similarly, life is ever-changing, both with changes that we choose and changes we are dealt. Ecclesiastes chapter three, verse 1 tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Changing tides, roughness of waves, or color of water all manifest themselves differently in each of our lives. Maybe you’ve been tempted by the tides to drift out to sea or to slowly give up your footing in your beliefs. Yet you’ve realized how far you are from shore and are swimming to return. Perhaps the waters have been rough for you lately. You’ve lost a job, you miss a relationship, or your financial state is troublesome. When these waters ease to lapping ripples after having been rough, rushing waves, we are thankful for the change. And for the relief. Maybe the color of your waters have changed recently, and maybe this change isn’t good or bad; it’s just a change. You’ve moved homes or jobs or full-blown careers. The point is, this life is full of change. 

But just as the shore is steadfast, so, too, must we be with God, Christ, and Scripture as our foundation. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Because our Savior doesn’t change, we must stay rooted in Him as our foundation so that as the tides change and the waters constantly move, we are steadfast in our faith, with Christ as our center.

The first two are quite opposite, aren’t they? Change and steadfastness. It’s ironic that the beach can be a picture of both. In this life, we will deal with change no matter what; the steadfastness piece is up to us, not in the sense that we refuse change but in how we deal with change. We can swim offshore and bobble around as does a buoy, or we can stand firm on the shore with our feet planted in the sand.

As for the sand on the shore that moves under the waves? It’s a perfect picture of renewal, just as we must renew ourselves. “All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). God’s Word is alive, and being firmly planted in it will give us the firm foundation and rejuvenating renewal to help us as we face the tides of change in our lives.

 

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers,
They will not sweep over you.
Isaiah 43:2

 

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