"...it stood up straight..."
"You blew on the sea and the water piled up high; it stood up straight like a wall..." (Exodus 15:8)
Sometimes it's difficult for us to understand some of the miracles recorded in the Bible, like the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites as they fled from the Egyptians. Exodus records how God, "blew on the sea and the water piled up high; it stood up straight like a wall..." If we haven't seen it, if we can't comprehend it, we often tend to discount it. How terrible that is because the practice of discounting God's miracles robs us of the hope we need when we find our own selves struggling and needing God's intervening Spirit.
Just for the record, here's a picture of water "standing up." Really, look at the drops standing on the petals of a rose a parishioner grew in her garden and gave me yesterday. Science tells us that the water standing up or beading up has to do with things like adhesion and cohesion. The rose petal's surface is smooth enough that instead of the water adhering to it and spreading across it, the water molecules cohere to one another and help create the surface tension allowing the water to stand or bead. Pretty amazing, isn't it? More like a miracle I'd say.
So let me get this straight, sometimes tension is good. The tension on the surface of the water droplet allows it to stand. The tension in the string on a bow propels the arrow. The tension on a rope and sail resists the wind enough to allow the ship to travel across the water. The tension on a musical string enables a bow to elicit beautiful sounds from it. Some, but not all tension is good.
Tension or stress inside an individual is not necessarily good. Tension in relationships is not generally good. As the tension mounts it may cause the individual to experience various forms of distress or disease, both physical, psychological, and relational. This is National Mental Health Awareness Week. It's a good time to stop and assess the level of stress you carry around from day to day. It's also a good opportunity to assess the level of stress in your relationships with others. If you're carrying a fair amount of tension or stress, explore ways to relieve some of that stress. You might start by talking about your stress with someone who has helpful ideas about tension or stress reduction. If you're having tension in a relationship, talk with the other party about ways to reduce the tension. Stress or tension tends to get worse, not better, when ignored.
God can make water stand up. It's true, I've seen it. God can bring healing to lives and relationships distressed by stress and tension. It's true, I've seen it. I pray that God will help me keep an eye on my own stress and help others do the same. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.
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"...it stood up straight..."