Devotional: Day 115 min read
“He had to turn around. He had to find a better way. He had to change.”
One of my favorite things to do is digging for Razor Clams in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Cook Inlet was named for none other than legendary explorer, Captain Cook, who happened along this way while looking for the Northwest Passage in 1778. While searching for the elusive passage, something that was never there to begin with, some of Captain Cook’s crew were nearly swamped and drowned by the extreme tidal change in an offshoot of the inlet. Cook named this place Turnagain Arm, in honor of the extreme tides there, which come in like a breaking wave.
The tidal change in Turnagain Arm is 35 feet, second highest in the United States. When you combine that tidal change with the “primary oscillation” of Turnagain Arm, which is the natural sloshing back and forth of the water in the basin, the result is a tide that comes in as a single wave — a tidal bore.
The bore tide is a huge wave or series of waves that advance down Turnagain Arm in a wall of water up to 10-feet high. It’s a dramatic show of nature’s power. Cook Inlet has the second largest tides in North America, slightly less than the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy is known for having the highest tidal range in the world.
Tourists line the shores south of Anchorage to watch this dramatic tidal bore. There are numerous signs warning people not to get too close to the water. If people would just read and pay attention to these signs, they could stay out of trouble. But, every year there are repeated emergency calls for help from people who ignore the warnings, get stuck in the soft mud flats, and drown.
From repeated expeditions, Captain Cook realized these tides weren’t going to change, nor was the fresh water he’d hoped would be salt water leading him through a Northwest Passage going to change. He had to turn around. He had to find a better way. He had to change.
Many of us battle a tide of thoughts and emotions from day to day, sometimes minute to minute. Our lives seem to mirror tides. Half the day we’re filling up riding high on a wave, and before long it feels like the bottom is being sucked out from under us and we’re being pulled out to sea.
I’ve spent quite a few hours digging up Razor Clams in Cook Inlet, Alaska. They are sleek, beautiful, and well-fortified. An adult razor clams shell is a dark glossy olive green and brown. The interior is white to purplish brown. If a clam feels threatened, they will extend their foot (an apparatus that resembles a tongue) and force blood into it. The foot enlarges and literally anchors the clam in place making it difficult for even the biggest of men to pull them out of the sand. They may grow to eleven inches in length and live to be 15 years old.
Inside, razor clams have a pair of siphons that they use for filtering water, food, and sand. These long siphons extrude from the clams mantle, out the side of the shell, and reach up to the water above. Water and food particles are drawn in through one siphon and into the gills where tiny, hair-like cilia move the water, and the food is caught in mucus on the gills. Here, the gills draw oxygen from the water flow and this mixture of food and water is then transported to the clams’ mouth where it can digest what’s good for it. The second siphon carries away the remaining water, filtering out the sand.
Prying these well, fortified shells open is not an easy thing. There is an elastic ligament connecting the two shell layers. The way you open the outer shell is to submerge the clams into boiling water. The extreme high temperatures cause the razor clam to die which releases the ligament that’s been holding the outer shell closed.
When I first tried digging Cook Inlet razor clams, I was horrible. I would bring up about one clam for every ten I lost. Pretty soon I was cold, tired, my hands were sliced up and feeling pretty deflated. But, in time and with the help of a friend who had much more experience digging up clams than I did, I began to be able to dig deeper and faster than the clams. His support and guidance kept me from becoming frustrated and quitting.
Digging for truth to renew our minds with is very similar. Most men don’t know where to go to find truth to replace the lies the enemy is shooting through their brains. When we have someone who knows how to filter through the lies, who knows where to dig deep and find truth, we can escape the grip of the enemy.
But, even though someone may be able to help you locate scripture to debunk the lies Satan is throwing at you, until God’s truth has been revealed to you, nothing in your life will change. You can’t make it happen through your own effort. It’s those “hitting bottom” moments, it’s the “breaking of the outer shell” (our flesh and mind) that happens and causes transformational beliefs to occur at our core. These truths can only come from the Father. These are God’s, “A-ha” moments.
Even though you may be able to dig up Cook Inlet Razor Clams on a consistent basis, you still have to get through that outer shell to get to the good stuff on the inside. So, what breaks a razor clams grip? By dropping them into boiling water that’s heated by a raging fire. What causes my outer self to break and burn out my false beliefs of needing others good opinions and to perform for my worth? Being exposed to the fire. Not others’ imposed fire, their controlling and manipulation through using shame and guilt, but by replacing the lies I’m buying into with what God’s Truth. As a believer, I am His Child, and I am 100% righteous “In Christ!”
God will allow us to journey into dangerous waters, even have personal shipwrecks so that we eventually come to that place where we are broken under the weight of our sin so that we can hear the voice of Truth and find true freedom!
Where in my life are these verses connecting right now, and what revelations in my life is the Holy Spirit showing me through these verses?
. . . “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2,NIV)
. . . “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV)
. . . “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13, NASB)