2002-01-16 - High Tide
Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.
I recently heard comedian Steven Wright boast that he had the largest seashell collection in the world. He continued by saying that he just kept his collection spread out on beaches all around the world. Sometimes little quips such as that will generate and stimulate thought, and in this case, it made me consider how much the Christian life is like the sea. The sea advances upon the beach and then retreats back from where it came There is an ebb and flow to the sea, and in many ways there is an ebb and flow also in the Christian life.
It is natural to experience high points in our Christian life. A sermon which has a specific application to our needs, or rouses our soul to dedicate ourselves more fully to Christ, is not uncommon. Even more common is the spiritual "high" many experience at a Christian retreat or conference Even a passage of Scripture that meets us right were we are at can lead us into spiritual joys and excitement. But we all know what happens. The tide recedes and that emotional uplift that we felt goes out with the tide. One day we are ready to knock down the gates of hell and then suddenly we are struggling to pray the simplest prayer.
I will be the first to say that "mountaintop" Christian experiences are a great part of the Christian life, and many can look back with fondness on the sweet communion they felt with the Lord during those times. However, if I could advocate one Christian experience above the experience of spiritual highs, it would be that of steadfastness in the Christian life.
What would happen if the US troops got all their gear together, built up their adrenaline to new hights, arrived in Afanganistan and concluded that their excitement was not now what it had been before? It would be a disaster. They have to be steadfast in their calling and mission. They have to maintain a steady understanding of their task and what they have been called to do. It is no different in the Christian life. We are to remain steadfast in our profession, practice, growth and calling as Christians. "For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end." Hebrews 3:14.
In the end, when the tide of our Christian life and profession come in, we need to seek to cast an anchor at high tide. We cast this anchor by following and practicing the basics of the Christian life. Prayer, Bible study, sacraments, hearing God's Word preached, and fellowship with other saints may all seem mundane and less significant than some of the great mountaintop experiences we might experience at other times, but the truth is that these very elements of the Christian life are our anchor. Without them, we may from time to time ride in on a high tide, but when the tide goes out, so will all our advances in our faith with it. May the Lord anchor us in His grace, as we advance in our faith and practice with the tide of Christian life and experience.
Soli Deo Gloria,