Most of us ask the haunting question in the backwash of certain situations- Is that all… is that all there is…..? When our spirits are high, we are flooded with optimism, hope and pleasant expectations. But when low, with our jagged barnacles of disappointment and discouragement exposed, we entertain feelings of raw disillusionment. If you are the type who honestly and truly never gets low; never feels the oppressive pang of periodic depression, then you will not understand the choice of frames. There are peculiar low tides that often follow a great victory.

Is that…. Is that all there is to victory?

Elijah asked that. Fresh off a stunning victory at Carmel, the prophet became vulnerable and frightened. Alone under the gnarled limbs of a twisted juniper tree, he cried out to God-not in spontaneous praise but overwhelmed with self-pity. Elijah suffered the low tide that often follows victory.

Then there are special low tides that accompany great vision. Is that all… is that all there is to vision? Paul asked that. Having taken gigantic strides into the vast regions of Asia and having forged out an impeccable theology that was to serve the Church for centuries – the apostle was caught at low tide. He freely admits this in his second letter to friends at Corinth. “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.” (2Corinthians 1:8) While in the heights of accomplishing a vast encompassing vision, Paul tripped and fell into a deep well of sudden despair. Weary, lonely and emotionally drained, the seasoned apostle hit bottom. Low tide occasionally accompanies vision, a malady not limited to first century saints.

Is that all… is that all there is to valor?

David asked that. He had killed a giant and married a princess. He was a fierce and resourceful front-line fighter but found himself in the target of his own king’s spear. Although a proven and dedicated warrior, unmatched in Israel’s ranks for bravery, he was forced to flee. This sent him reeling, appearing insane before the king of Gath. The once-exalted man of valour now “Scribbled on the doors of the gate and let his saliva run down upon his beard.”(1 Samuel 21:13) David had wrestled with bears, tackled lions and leveled a nine foot nine Philistine….but was not rendered helpless at a low tide. All his valor seemed only a cheap, empty dream.

            Low tide…. how painful yet how essential. Without it the changing ocean becomes a predictable boring body of water with no attraction to the moon lacking its magnetic appeal. Without it there would be no need for Elisha’s to minister to anguished Elijah’s, no need for visionaries to fall in dependence on their faces before God ; no need for the valiant to be reminded of their source of strength.  Is that all…. is that all there is to low tide? No, there is more much more, most of which can never be described…..only discovered.