Living Above High Tide

Living Above High Tide

by Clinton R. Brown


I was somewhat taken aback when I realized that I was not really sleeping on an island that night. To qualify as an “island,” I believe the ground has to remain generally above the water line even during high tide.

On my visit with Michael Spearl to Putik “Island” in the Philippines, I became aware that this tiny fishing village was merely a collection of houses and a church on stilts in the Pacific Ocean. They are built over a high spot among a few of the actual Philippine Islands.

That afternoon, we had slogged into the muddy ground village, greeted by a chorus of children singing Christian praise songs and waving homespun flags to welcome us. By nightfall, however, the ocean reclaimed the dirt yards and pathways, raising fishing boats several feet and submerging the trunks of the surrounding Mangrove trees.

It seemed to me that the precarious existence of living in homes only a few feet above the risen tide would require a mindset of faith. Once the tide comes in, there is no natural surface that you can call “solid ground” anywhere nearby. If a person is not secure in the hut in which they live, the rising tide would be a daily source of anxiety.

Yet while traveling to that village, I met the first of two inspiring people who lived lives of faith despite knowing that their stage of life was nearing a “high tide” that might overwhelm their fragile structures. You see, both were at an age where they knew they were close to probable life expectancy.

Both however, instead of focusing on their own health challenges and trying to find the most comfortable situation for themselves, were dedicated to ministering to the lost and needy in the Philippines. They were committed to wringing out remaining any time and resources that God had provided in their own lives, and blessing their communities to His glory. They were intentionally using the time that remained and the funds they were living on to answer what they felt God was calling them to do.

I don’t know if it is God’s will that each American Seventh Day Baptist on Social Security leave their communities and go to the Philippines to build churches and train disciples. I do know that I need to be attuned to how God has blessed me—in whatever stage of my life—and use those blessings as He leads to bless others to His glory.

The tide is coming in. I can either focus on the rising water, or have faith that the Master Builder built this structure for a purpose and commit it to His purposes… as long as it stands.

       “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” (Matthew 7:24)

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