I recently spent some quality time on the beach in Florida. While watching the waves roll in and out, I reflected on the purpose of the ocean tide. Not being a science guru, I didn’t fully understand the “ins and outs,” but I was awed by the magnitude of what lay before me.
I sought a simple explanation. According to almanac.com, “The regular rise and fall of the ocean’s waters are known as tides. It is high tide when water covers much of the shore by rising to its highest level. It is low tide when water falls to its lowest level and recedes from the shore. The highs and lows are caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of Earth.
This explanation attests to the symmetry and wonder of God’s creation.
“You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.”—Psalm 89:9
As I watched the water recede, I thought of the falling away of an old year, one that for some may have been marked by pain, suffering, and heartache. When the waves reversed and the water reached toward my toes, I thought of the coming opportunities of a new year, one that may be filled with hope, joy, and blessings.
In Act IV, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brutus advises his soldiers to take advantage of opportunity. He uses the tide as an analogy:
There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.
As this new year begins, all of us have the choice to “seize the day,” to act and move forward, or we can choose to sit back and watch the tide roll away. As we begin the voyage into 2020, let us focus on the full sea of opportunity that surrounds us.
In Pat Miller’s children’s story Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution, the main character’s friends advise him to find an opportunity to “make a fresh start.” With the help of the other animals in the forest, Squirrel learns he has the gift of encouraging others, and he resolves to help someone every day.
Like Squirrel, all of us have many opportunities every day to make a positive difference in the world. Like the going out and coming in of the ocean waves, we also have the choice to let go of the old and embrace the new. I encourage you to “take the current when it serves.” When the tide starts rolling in and the opportunity presents itself, think about what you can do to help others.
Psalm 96:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 13:34-35; Jeremiah 29:11
“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.” --Alfred, Lord Tennyson
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”--L. M. Montgomery