The Rising Tide

The news is bad. Each day it seems worse…and more complex…and more uncertain. Daily I have to fight my addiction to MORE information. Higher death tolls, faster spread rate, lack of protective equipment…the list goes on and on. I hear the words that we’re doing good, but nothing I read sounds very good, and it certainly doesn’t make me feel good at all.

Each grim reality crashes like a wave onto the shore of our hearts. The media is selling facts over fear and science instead of supposition. But “Knowledge is Power” is just a lie – you can know everything there is to know about a thing, but it doesn’t mean you can keep it from happening. You can do your part to help “flatten the curve,” but there’s no guarantee you’ll escape unscathed. Heartbreaking tales of love and loss are passed around like old war stories – only difference is they’re happening in our lifetime – to people we know. And fear creeps up little by little like the evening tide.

Predictions have been wrong. Advice waffles between “dos” and “don’ts”. There’ve been a million “I said that yesterday but don’t mean it today.” Experts can’t seem to agree and models can’t possibly encompass the endless variables of every unique situation.

But my heart wants answers. I don’t want shifty sand – I want rock-solid incontrovertible fact. THEN I can rest. THEN I can move forward with a plan. I don’t like NOT knowing – it leaves me feeling powerless. I’m a DOER, and there’s always room for more to be done. But we’re told to wait, do less, shelter in place…and I feel itchy in my soul. (I can feel my heart begin to race as that confession spills onto my keyboard.)

As an artist, God has granted me the gift of feeling things deeply…but that doesn’t make those feelings altogether accurate. So, oddly enough, I’ve had to quarantine myself from the quarantine news. I can only trust my fragile state with a few sound bites at a time. And as I’ve detoxed, a remarkable phenomenon has occurred.

The tides have turned.

Now I no longer feel the waves of fear creeping higher, but God’s MERCY! I can busy myself with building whatever sandcastle of delusion I want, stack one anxiety on top of the other like a stone altar of stress, drag a big stick through the wet sand to spell out the words H-E-L-P M-E, or build a blazing hot fire on the shoreline in hopes that a far-away vessel might see my distress signal and rescue me. I can do all of that and more.

But eventually and inevitably the waves of God’s mercy return and sweep it all away – every care, every neurotic obsession, every restless wandering of my heart – dragged deep into the sea…because the sea is BIG ENOUGH to hold it all. Every last bit of it.

Truth is, every day can start fresh for us – wave-washed smooth sand, new shells scattered about like stars to discover, tiny claw prints from sandpipers and seagulls scurrying about, and the smell of new beginnings in the salty air.

Lamentations 3:23-24 says it like this:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I will hope in him.”

So let the waves of mercy wash over you, my friend. Again and again and again. For GREAT is His faithfulness. His mercies NEVER come to an end.

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