High and dry – longing for more

High and dry – longing for more

The Tide has Gone

This was once a beach where the tides of the sea came in daily to these shores refreshing these pebbles with life and movement, at times washing right up to the base of these cliffs. But now it is dry, a forgotten place. There is a sense of sadness here as if this beach were waiting in vain for the tide which never comes.

One Church congregation we knew had experienced God working in special ways by the Holy Spirit. People were joining the congregation, attracted by what was going on. Then the vicar left to move on to another parish. Things soon changed—people left, signs stopped happening, faith and expectancy began to fade.

It was then that one young mum shared with us her vision of a beach at low tide. The water‘s edge had retreated and was now far out from the shore—all was dry and barren. She felt It was a picture of her church—as if the Spirit had left them leaving them with low tide.

’The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.’

From Matthew Arnold’s poem ‘Dover Beach’
Shingle beach at low tide


In a sense we can all become like this—finding ourselves stranded at low tide as the past blessing seems to have retreated away from us. But it is no use relying upon past times of renewal and blessing. All renewal, need to be constantly ‘renewed’. It needs to be a continuous process, as Paul tells us, we are to: ‘Keep on being filled by the Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:

 Working in Christian ministry among university students, Tom Watson sensed a growing longing for ‘a new graciousness, drive and vigour’ in his ministry:

“I began to feel an increasing desire for a greater awareness of God’s presence…a greater success, triumph, victory in my life and ministry. The demands of ministry were getting too great for us.. We were thoroughly humbled as we realised that most of what we said was ’old hat’ ..and stale.  I could no longer play games in ministry, unaware of the spiritual battle going on.”                        

(Tom Walker – ‘Renew us by you Spirit’)
Boat stranded on a beach at low tide

The 18th century ‘Great Awakening’

But things may be bleak but hey can change when the tide comes in as it did in the 18th century:

O my dear brother, what a mystery of love is the mystery of godliness? While I am writing the fire kindles. This fire has also of late
kindled in many hearts. Our large society goes on well. We have
many that walk in the comforts of the Holy Ghost. I hear of
glorious things from various parts.

From a letter by George Whitefield in the midst of the Great Awakening in 1742
The Doctor’s Advice

“When I get discouraged and over tired and weary, I invariably go to the 18th Century. I have never found George Whitefield to fail me. Go to the 18th Century! In other words, read the stories of the great tides and movements of the Spirit experienced in that century. It is the most exhilarating experience, the finest tonic you will ever know,,,,, Such men seemed to be on the borders of glory…the tide of  glory seems to be coming up the river of grace in their souls.” 

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Quoted in the first volume of his biography – ‘The First 40 years’ by Iaian Murray (Banner of Truth Trust)

  Once these words could be spoken of our nation. How wonderful if they could be said again today. Please God, the tide will turn someday.

Next page