On Ebbs and Flows: Musing on Seasons of Life Including Grief

Face, this life we live sometimes is very difficult, other times everything seems to work out right.  One minute we can be on top doing well, everything working out as hope. Next minute things are difficult, painful, and filled with pain and loss.  Good or bad, gain or loss, beginning or ending,  and happy or sad are all words used to describe the varied season of life.  The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” So the ebbs and flows are part of the seasons of life. 

Here is the deal, while the seasons of life exist, while there is that which hurts and that which heals, it is all a result of living in a fallen world twisted by sin.  Of course, those at face value are simply words, words that do nothing to ease the difficult season such as when face any number of losses.  Now while sin created the twists that bring on the seasons and the resultant ebbs and flows there is an important note, God is still in control and at work.  Romans 8:28 (ESV)  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  It is a verse known and quoted whenever facing the difficult life seasons such as one of loss. Sometimes even the sharing of that verse though ends up as just words and not really touching the core.  The impact of these words sometimes can be missed.  

The point and impact is God is not passive.  If we are actively in relationship with the creator, whatever we do, he actively works to bring things in accordance with His purpose. So the question becomes what is God’s purpose that he brings all things into cooperation with? Is it no undoing that which has been twisted?  At the cross the path to being in right relationship with God, to be in a loving relationship with creator has been established.  His purpose is for use then to be more and more refined and cleansed.  As such, whatever happens in our lives, the ebbs and flows, serve the intent of making us grow more toward His intent for our lives in relationship with Him. 

There will be difficult seasons. There will be loss.  There will be ebbs and flows. This is a fact.  The fact is even outlined further in Romans 8 with a list of “negative” things that will happen to people in various seasons.  The fact is bad stuff happens. One way or another, the difficult seasons are related to the twists of sin; be it original  sin, our own sin, or the sins of others around us.  But we have a promise that for those that love God, we bring things inline with His intent. When we are in right relationship God is in the process of untwisting the twist.  And before God it is a finished state, yet we are in the ongoing process of getting to that finished state.  Before the promise just mentioned is the statement in Romans 8:25 (ESV)  “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  See, the God working things out for His intent is not what is always seen or perceived. What we know are the difficult things, the painful things, the things that trigger the ebbs and flows.  Much of what God does is beyond what we can perceive as he working in the midst and what God is doing also does not just resolve around one individual, but all of creation.

And with what God has done, the hope in Jesus as Lord and Saviour,  in the God with us, there is another promise.  Romans 8:37 (ESV)  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”   See, in all the pain, in all the things that can come against and cause pain, in all of which is twisted and horrendous. In all, we are told that no matter what the appearance there is the assured victory, that all these things just are not defeated, but obliterated.  In Christ is all hope and the victory is an overwhelming blow-out.  And again, we can look at that and simply see the words.  But if let the word take effect in heart and life it change how manage the ebbs and flows.  They still come, but when the focus is not on the pain of the moment but in the faithfulness and surety of God’s love and purpose, one can find the joy and peace amidst the ebbs and flows.  So let the words of God sink deeply, beyond words, beyond the fickleness of the emotions in the ebbs and flows, into the peace that passes all understanding with the strength coming from the Joy in the Lord.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks brother…this is awesome! God bless ya!

  2. my mother posted this to forum and thought would recopy here:

    The message on PB musings on ebb and flow of life, are meaningful, especially in light of our current journey, both collectively and individually as a family. The subject of ‘water’ is very interesting. It was originally created and also is always creating newness, and is purifying. In many ways it is a example of God’s creation in us and parallel’s our life journey.

    I have been reading a book called The Valley of Vision, which was by the Puritans of the 16th and 17th centuries and continued at least until the time of Charles Spurgeon. The Puritans left us with a basic fundamental foundation of practical religion for decades, especially it’s influence on family and pesonal meditation as well as example of family and personal devotions.

    In reading the Valley of Vision, I found this particular devotion applicable in the light of PB musings on ‘ebb amd flow’ in the seasons of life.


    O Lord of the Oceans,

    My little bark sails on a restless sea,
    Grant that Jesus may sit at the helm and steer me safely;
    Suffer no adverse current to divert my heavenward course’

    Let not my faith be wrecked amid storm and shoals;
    Bring me to harbor with flying pennants,
    Hull unbreached, cargo unspoiled.

    I ask great things,
    expect great things,
    shall receive great things.

    I venture on thee wholly, fully,
    my wind, sunshine, anchor, defense.

    The voyage is long, the way is high, the storms pitiless,
    but my helm is held steady,
    thy Word secures safe passage,
    thy grace wafts me onward,
    my haven guaranteed.
    This day will bring me nearer home.
    Grant me holy consistency in every transaction,
    my peace flowing as a running tide,
    my righteousness as every chasing wave

    Help me to live circumspectly,
    with skill to convert every care into prayer,
    Halo my path with gentleness and love,
    smooth every asperity of temper;

    Let me not forget how easy it is to occasion grief;
    May I strive to bind up every wound,
    and pour oil on all troubled waters.

    May the world this day be happier and better because I live.
    Let my mast before me be the Savior’s cross,
    and every oncoming wave the fountain in his side

    Help me, protect me in the moving sea
    until I reach the shore of unceasing praise”


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