waiting on the tide

what moves me - on waiting and enduring || sarah sandel @sarahsandel.com

I stood at the edge of the Atlantic ocean this weekend, sandy toes and pink shoulders - the whole works. Beach combing, looking for sea glass and shiny shells and I noticed that just beyond the shore, where the waves were breaking and rushing over the sand, there was rock. Solid and long - all down the beach, people were gingerly picking their way through the shallows, so they wouldn't stub toes on the shore rocks. Thinking how nice it would be to scavenger the rocks and little pools for treasures (and not risk skinned knees), I whispered aloud, Man, I wish the tide would hurry up and go out.

Yeahhhhhhh....if there was ever a more futile prayer, I am not sure what it is.

The gift of the sea, of course, is that the metaphors and lessons are just right at your fingertips and yet this one caught me by surprise. The sheer cliché of it all - wishing the tide could move faster. It seemed a perfect analogy for how many things I cannot control right now: the ocean, for example. The gravitational pull of the moon. The rotation of the earth. Centrifugal forces. If I will find any shimmery shells in the tide pool.

When --or if-- we will ever have another child.

what moves me - on waiting and enduring || sarah sandel @sarahsandel.com

So much is out of my control - so much is out of your control.

And there is, in some seasons, not much else to do but bear up under it and endure.

You cannot make this season go faster, you cannot speed up your emotional process, and none of us can un-do what the God of heaven is doing. And what futility to try.

One of our pastors recently quipped, "You are not omni-competent!" And we laughed, knowing that in our hearts, we are far less likely to assume we are all-knowing or all-powerful; we are very likely to act as though we can do it all. That by our powerful intellects or deductive reasoning or by sheer force of WILL, we can effect a change of circumstance. And with very few exceptions, that's about as effective as hoping the tide will turn a little more quickly, simply because you really want it to.

God is not moving or speaking the ways I have previously experienced Him and He is offering no insight into this silence. I have decided the greatest value is going to be found in hoping, believing, and enduring. Others have believed God to be silent and, finding this to be insufficient for them, have moved along from the faith. Others have cried out to the Lord and endured the silence until, being so shaped by their belief, they begin to walk into newer and richer intimacy. Others are still just waiting. And enduring. And believing.

This is what I'm going to do. I can fuss and splash in the water, but the tide will move in its own time and by forces I am not remotely qualified to explain, much less direct. If He remains silent, who can condemn?[1] It is good to sit silently, to bear the yoke, to endure.[2] The Lord will not reject forever, of this I am certain. [3]

Compassion is coming, like the tide. And I am waiting it out, to see what treasures there are when it ebbs.

on waiting and enduring || sarah sandel @sarahsandel.com