Withstanding the Tide
The sea is always trying to take back the beach, the daily tides are complicit in this reclamation project. It’s not work for the impatient wave, but for those with a bit of resolve, the rewards are inevitable. The beach ultimately returns from whence it came.
Some of our seaside friends know that they have only a few years before the ocean reclaims both the sand and perhaps even their vacation homes. We fight against it as best we can and dredge up sand from the water and haul it back and give ourselves a few more years.
It seems like many Christians are sliding into the sea as well. As sea of sin. A sea of compromise or of syncretism with the pagans. When we’ve taken a strong position with our choices, with our church, with the community we live in, with the hard choices we’ve made and the way we’ve organized our homes, it can be difficult to see formerly like-minded friends slide back into the sea.
Where we once were blind to the importance of a biblical and covenantal life, now we cannot see any differently.
Awash in Compromise
To return to a life of compromise with the world seems unthinkable and yet it’s all around us. Our church friends leave for something seemingly easier. Their children get placed into public schools. Wives leave the homes for money and independence, husbands choose to spend more time away. The family disintegrates and all the ground that was gained is lost and then some. Divorces occur with great frequency. Children are abandoned emotionally and even physically.
And those left behind wonder if we’re next. If it’s worth it, all this heartache or perhaps let’s just go with the flow. The tide is so strong and muscles weary at the strain against it.
I moved to my city, to my church very deliberately about twelve years ago. I gave up a lot to ultimately gain even more. Much more. And while the ideas have remained, those adhering to what I thought we all believed has shrunk. Children are falling away from some of the best families, fathers are moving 180 degrees, sacred vows are broken, families flee the safety and comfort of a strong community as quickly as they had once raced towards it.
Is the community we’re created too weak? Is the teaching too strong? Are we just seeing the middle of the story and not the end where better decisions will be made once again?
It’s painful seeing the losses, knowing that it was preventable, that those afflicting and afflicted were once in a safe place once, on the straight path. And now . . . who knows?
So where does that leave us? If we are still convicted we remain and fight. If we are not, we leave and do something else. I’m still convicted. I can’t change back to who I was when I didn’t see clear black and white on issues relating to my children, the church and the world. I want my family to be a part of the remnant so often cited in Scripture.
But God is not confused. His Word is clear. The path is straight. We’re to keep our eyes on the prize and put aside the things of the world and be long-suffering and hard at work. As those around us fall away, we mustn’t look back, but only forward to the Celestial City, to the open arms of our Savior.
I don’t want to be dragged back into the sea. God help us.