When Geoff and I first visited Alaska we marveled at one of the highest tides in the world and were amazed at how far the ocean would recede from the land at low tide. Then we moved to this beach that sits almost exactly on the equator and didn't expect much of a tide at all. Well, the ocean recedes drastically where we are, although the vertical tide remains relatively low. This is caused by a very gradual decline of the land descending into the ocean. Below are pictures we took from our roof that illustrate the contrast of “our” beach between tides. Basically, we have a huge beach at low tide, and no beach at high!
There are many cliché illustrations that have been, and can be, drawn from the ocean and its tides; many are deserved. The tide is ever changing, but ever constant. We can predict high tide and low tide, but not what its waves will leave behind as it recedes once more into the ocean. One night we enjoyed a perfect walk on our sandy beach without even a pebble threatening our bare feet. The next morning we woke to a beach stripped of sand with countless rocks blanketing the beach in the oceans clever exchange. Our next walk required not only shoes but demanded our attention to keep from turning ankles on its unpredictable surface. Every wave brings new offerings from the ocean, turning walks into treasure hunts. We have admired wide varieties of shells, fish, rocks, beach glass, and many other things (today the tide left a chunk of sea turtle shell near our porch). We never know what the tide will bring, and anticipate the opportunity to explore a new beach every day.
I have knelt at the ocean’s edge, overwhelmed by its vastness and power as thundering waves surge toward me, and I realize with renewed clarity just how vulnerable I am. Before this vulnerability gives way to fear the Spirit reminds me that my GOD is the GOD “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb,” and said, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”* I am reminded that my GOD is in control, so I don’t have to be. It is HE who controls the tides, both of the ocean and in my day to day life. The changing tides bring new beaches to walk every day, some requiring more careful stepping than others, but my GOD is in control. Bring it on.