Highs and Lows

At God’s Grace, we talk a lot about our highs and lows. This week, I feel as though I have been buffeted a bit by both. I am still feeling the afterglow of a wonderful, long-overdue, two week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and the New England Coast. A real high. Then came this weird, severe hail storm on Monday that I am still cleaning up after. This week we also had a visit from my sister and her husband from Wisconsin – another high. And at the same time, some real discouraging news from my other brother-in-law in California who desperately needs the job he was starting on Monday, only to learn on Wednesday that he “doesn’t fit their corporate culture”. Even something like the Ebola crisis has both highs and lows connected with it – an outpouring of support from around the world to fight the disease in West Africa, balancing the terrible vulnerability of so many people in that part of the world.

I would like to focus on the highs, rather than the lows, but both are real parts of life. Although I know I am so blessed as I sit in my warm home, looking out on a beautiful day in my comfortable neighborhood, I am sometimes stuck focusing on various problems I, or those close to me, face. I am particularly susceptible to worrying and getting depressed about financial challenges that persist, whether for me, family members, or portions of the world which seem to be stuck in intractable poverty. It has been enough at times to make me feel overwhelmed.

However, one of the side benefits of Cindy and Tim’s visit this week was being reminded of a meeting a group of us had many years ago with Tim’s grandfather, a very wise retired professor. Prof. Hawkinson was talking with us about those times in our faith lives when we feel overwhelmed by doubt and discouragement. He reminded us, simply, but profoundly, that “The tide will always come in”. It not only may, but will go out again, but it will always come in. It is hard at times to trust the truth of that, but two weeks along the ocean shore sure reinforced it for me.

Similarly, one of the songs we sing together regularly on Sunday mornings, “Lord, you never let go of me”, expresses the same confidence. “Oh, no, you never let go; through the calm and through the storm; Oh no, you never let go; in every high and every low; Oh, no, you never let go; Lord, you never let go of me!”

Thank you Lord, for wise people like Eric Hawkinson and Matt Redman, who give us words and images that help us through the lows of life. Help us to remember your love and presence with us through both the highs and lows that we all experience.

Dave Erickson-Pearson

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