low tide at sunset

His mark is everywhere here.

I know it’s everywhere, everywhere – but here, it calls out to you, determined that you not miss a single detail. It’s almost as if the rocks and mountains and moss are crying out their praise; may my response be louder praise.

Last night, we chased the Juneau sunset in a prehistoric Chevy van with blue tape marking racing stripes and the number 7. 20-somethings tumbled in together to drive “out the road” in hopes of bear sightings. In Juneau, it really is called out the road – and you can get to the end of the road. I have done it before, five years ago when I was here for the first time.

His mark was in the sun, that golden ball of fire hiding and seeking between clouds. The reflection of rays across the water, causing turquoise light to shimmer in the distance – that was Him, too. The mountains in the distance – a watercolor masterpiece with muted hues and blurry details – corresponded in color with the sunset as purples and blues and deeper blues. Charcoal and ink sketched details in the closer ones, outlining snow still thick in the peaks.

He’s a creative one, our God. We walked out through moss and sand and rocks to get as close as possible to the water, hoping to see evidence of whales. At high tide, that walk would have been a swim, but the edges of the sea regularly move back to expose the life and death underneath her waters. Her highs and lows affect fishermen and coastline residents and explorers like us, so we were careful to watch for her to slowly start moving back up.

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Removing myself from my everyday life this summer is having a similar effect.

It’s as if the tide is changing in me – not in the cliché sense of new directions, but the ebbing of my routines and my relationships and my regular world has begun to expose the life and death in me, the stripping away of the waters to reveal what’s underneath.

The grime and the mud in my heart is sticky, and I can no longer deny the selfishness and the pride that have been resting below. What is it about life changes that cause the change in tide? The good and the bad come out raw, and I am sure that’s an intentional result by a God Whose mark is, after all, on everything.

The low tide exposes what the dark has hidden.

Yet in the midst of the algae-covered rocks and the still-damp floor, there is beauty. There is life growing in what has been hidden from the eye while the high tide held. And with the laying bare of what’s in me, God’s grace is flourishing with life, spilling over even into the places I wish were not there.

In the end, we aren’t qualified or capable to be used by God. We don’t reach a point where we “have it together” so that we can finally live this life on our own. It’s often only in the change in tides that we (are forced to) stop to notice how broken and dead we are on our own – but it’s also in that place where we are able to see the life God has brought in the midst of our lack. It’s then that we can truly say, “Your grace is sufficient for me.”

Even in the ebb of the waters, His mark is there.

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