“Watch for low tide,” was the phrase whispered to my heart a few years back, a season of my life that would become a season of “circumspect” for me. But as we currently sit in lockdown, not just in South Africa, but in many countries across the world, this phrase has come up in my heart again. Now with a reminder: “we are in low tide”. It made me dig up my journals and investigate what the Lord told me back then, and for me it has been a good reminder.
Many of us started 2020 with a bang, we had plans, ideas and we were well on our way, having gained our momentum. Now as we suddenly find ourselves in lockdown, through no fault of our own, we are in a season that has the characteristics of a low tide.
There is certainly not the busyness, the noise, the activity, the people to talk to, and the energy that is associated with high tide. The beach is exposed, the sand is dry and the sun beats down. The dross of the previous high tide lies open to be examined and the line of low tide is not clearly marked or defined, it remains unseen. In fact this low tide that we are in, does not seem to have reached its lowest point yet, and still the water draws back, revealing more and more.
Nobody knows how far the line of the low tide is, we will only see once the tide turns. Low tide is as necessary in life, just as the high tide is spectacular. The one cannot be sustained without the other. It is part of the cycle of life. Life’s low tide usually comes:
1. After a time of great victory, or great achievement, success or advance
2. After a season of great vision
3. After a time of great valour, bravery or breakthrough.
4. As an appointed time in the seasons of life (much like we have now)
Low tide is often painful, yet essential. During low tide we battle with the “sand of feelings” that settles on us. Feelings of isolation; down-ness; tiredness; sorrow; boredom. We long for high tide, when we felt useful, with things to do. Often the “dross” that is out on the “beach of life”, bothers us. We know it is always there during high tide, but then it is hidden with all the activity of the waves. But now, during low tide, all the “sea-weed” and “drift-wood” is out where we can see it again and we are reminded that it needs to be cleared up. We also suddenly notice all the other stuff on our beach of life, things that are neglected, not cleared away, not getting attention while we were busy in high tide. There is also the revelation of things we did not expect, “rocks” of vulnerability, or danger lurking beneath waves which we never saw before.
Most of all, during low tide, when the sun beats down, we find that our spirit (or passion) is dry.
It is during low tide, that we again, need to fall in dependence before the Lord and say “I need the water that You provide, fill me with your Spirit for I am dependent upon You.” It is during this low tide that we go back to the true source of our strength, discover our failed strategies to satisfy our own thirst and drink deeply from the fountain that has no end.
“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and they have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13
John 6:35 (AMP) Jesus replied, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time).”
We have to engage in this process of low tide, to prepare ourselves for the next high tide. It is an opportunity to make changes, to position ourselves, to spend the time drinking from your true source of strength.
The tide will eventually turn.
“So Lord, what do I need to understand about this low tide period?” I asked.
This is what I understood to be the responsibilities of a low tide, I think they are still relevant today:
1. Finish up the activity of high tide, do the filing, the payments, the phone calls. Review what you were busy with and finish up that which was in the previous high tide, which you don’t want to have to deal with again in the new high tide. Finish up projects, complete stuff, and tick it off. So finish well.
2. Put into order your “beach of life.” Tidy up, sort out, and stock up. Put order to your mess, deal with the clutter. Make the necessary appointments that you have been putting off. Turn over all the areas of your life and sort them out.
3. Take the pulse on important relationships, how are they doing? Spend time with the people you love, talk about the things you have not been talking about. Re-establish and strengthen relationships that are important to you, especially your relationship with your spouse.
4. Connect with the new contacts, people you met during previous high tides of your life, re-connect with them before they forget who you are and move on into their new tides.
5. Rest. After work comes the blessing of rest. Do what you really enjoy, that you have not had time for. Nap. Nurture yourself. Read a book, listen to music.
6. Re-establish good habits. Those that have been neglected while you were busy. Exercise, vitamins and drinking water. Plenty of sleep. Quiet times. Prayer.
7. Manage the urgent. Don’t let other people’s emergencies sweep you off into activity just because you happen to be idle for now. People will find you stuff to do. Think carefully before you commit to anything in low tide.
8. Dust off the planner, take a look at what is actually going to happen in the next six months. What do you need to organise, what is going to take time? Where is the extra time going to be in the future? Check if that important event is actually on the calendar. Prepare you planner.
9. Take time to think. Think about where you are, what needs to improve. What God is saying to you? What God is doing around you? What God has already revealed to you? Be careful not to follow your agenda, but God’s agenda. Careful not to build your kingdom, but God’s Kingdom. Think about things, examine your motives, and review your personal agenda.
10. Read, meditate, fast, pray. This is the quiet season. Time to get into the word, meditate on it. Pray and listen. Drinking deeply from the Lord, while He prepares you and your heart, for what is next.
During this low tide it is wise for me to spend time in the activity of low tide. This low tide season is necessary for me, to drink deeply from my Lord, to rest, to think and to prepare for the next high tide. There will be another high tide after lockdown, I need to prepare for it, so that I am well positioned. What about you?
Father, help me to do the responsibilities of low tide, to drink deeply from the fountain of living water, to eat the bread of life that You offer. Help me to enter into rest, to pause, to think and to prepare my heart. Help me not to run off and get busy, but to wait in Your Presence, until You say it is time to move again. I know that this time too will end Lord, help me to prepare for the next season of my life.