Roll Tide Roll!

Roll Tide Roll!

If you are a guy – you’ve probably caught my completely not-subtle reference to that little event that usually goes down on Saturday’s and typically involves some food and a large, comfortable chair while some guys in same-colored clothes chunk around a funny-shaped ball. (If you are a female and you caught the reference, hopefully some lucky guy has you already, because you’re a catch!)

The phrase “Roll Tide Roll!” is southern for “Go Alabama!” (…or possibly Alabamer dependent upon what part yer kin folk might hail from). In literature this is known as a metaphor. Basically, that means it’s something like a symbol, a metaphor stands for something else. When Alabama fans chant this phrase, they don’t literally mean lay down and roll like the waves of a tide. Instead, in polite English, it’s more like “beat up on the other team.”

Now that I’ve insulted lots of college football intelligence, I’m jumping to the point. I could only make it a few days without including some college football reference in my rambling, sorry. Chances are good that there will be more.

I spent this past Labor Day at the beach. Hurricane Katia is churning a thousand or so miles off the coast and then Tropical Storm Lee slowly approached from another direction. All of this was stirring the waves up a little bit.

I tend to sit on the beach for a little while and just watch the wave action while I relax. It’s a time when I feel close to God, because I feel like his large size and power has a large illustration right there in front me. My brain can begin to wrap around the power and meaning of Jesus because this smacks me upside the head as to my tiny relative size. The ocean is a whole lot larger than me, and this Jesus guy was not only present at the creation – when the rules [physics] of it were calculated and set – but he formed it himself.

A recent podcast came to mind. The talk was about passion and direction. Suddenly, a simple illustration fell right into my lap. See, we can think of ourselves like the ocean in this case. We have our day-to-day functions and motions (might be a long commute to a job, heading to school, coming home to family, etc.). These are our waves. They are typically a rhythm of life.

Sometimes the tide gets a little higher and the energy of waves crashing into the sand will be more intense. Those waves might even eat away at the solid ground. Other times the tide goes out and things might be a good bit softer and some pretty crazy shells and pools can be found. There are always storms looming on the horizon and typically we endure events in our life that really enlarge and intensify our waves. Some peoples’ waves might come from a hurricane, others still might come from what appears just to be a tropical storm to us. (And you can never fully know what the person is going through!) The end result is the same, the waves get stirred up and the water gets rough.

At the end of the day, though, the storm will pass and the tide returns to the same motion, still governed by the same rules. Welcome to God’s illustration of life. Jesus set the rules for us. He died for us. Even the fiercest storm can only be so strong; it can only influence the tide for so long. Eventually, order is restored.

 Matthew 8: 24-27 NIV

Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

The storms and other influences are passions. The come and go. They influence and then fade away. The sea is the ultimate direction we are headed in. Passion will come and go. It might be influenced by outside forces, but it won’t last forever. Our direction is what matters, and that’s set by working in the “rules” set for us. In our case, as Christians, our direction is set by working in the rules of grace. Despite our shortcomings and failures, grace is still there. Jesus made sure of that. He even gave us a long letter on how to go about it called the Bible.

So, roll tide roll! (Just for the record, I’m a proud Gamecock, so this will be the only time I happily say that phrase – well that and the fact that we rolled the tide over last season!)


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