Low Tide’s Undoing

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
‘I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.’” Jeremiah 17:9-10

“The Lord comes, [and] will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5

“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

An abnormally low tide uncovered ugliness and wear usually hidden by the gloss and gleam of Bay water. Crusted oyster shells and barnacles, decaying wood posts worn by years of shifting salt water, even a stench- all are laid bare. Erosion and buildup are easy to ignore when water levels are “fine,” but impossible to ignore when exposed.

When we least expect it, strange winds sweep into our lives and can become our undoing also. We glide along relatively smoothly, weathering normal ups and downs just “fine” on the surface, when insidiously, a blow of change, or draining suck of circumstances, uncovers otherwise undisclosed ugliness in us. A life-altering diagnosis, a devastating loss, an unsettling move, might pull back the calm we present and unearth sickening fear and doubt of God’s goodness. Grave disappointment or strong disagreement can bring to light willful stubbornness, an unwillingness to forgive, or an ugly attitude. We may live lightly along, relishing our present pretty-adorned identity, until social media exposes a poor decision or shameful past, and we panic for fig leaves to hide resurfaced shame. (Genesis 3:7-13)

Over time, a low tide of spirit, a failure to be filled regularly, weakens foundations and impossibly hardens barnacles of unchecked bitterness and prejudice. We get into rote rhythms that no longer have meaning or produce tasty fruit. We hum along in habits that numb us to sin’s danger and dull our sensitivity to God’s nudges of conviction or correction. Our reasoning gets imperceptibly caught up into our culture’s current, and grows indistinguishable from the world’s. We lose biblical footing because we’ve lost the will to shore up the piers of our faith in God’s immutable word, so they decay. (Romans 15:13; Ephesians 5:18)

The enemy would have us never consider our accountability before God, but the Bible is clear: there will be a reckoning. How have we grown lax in seeking out His searchlight to show where we are slipping, and what will we do about it? Is there a slow seep of living water draining the vitality from our spiritual lives, almost imperceptibly, that we need urgently repair? (John 7:37-39)

When we look to God, He will be our glorious undoing, and then apply His grace. (Isaiah 6:1-7)

Holy Lord, may I never fear low tides. When they come, by Your grace, chip away the sin barnacles I’ve allowed to harden, and fill me anew with You.

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