I recall the surreal sensation of the rock island shaking beneath my feet. I was on a house-sized island which stands defiantly against the churning current of Nakwakto Rapids. There are at least 250 kilometers of inland waterways that comprise the Seymour & Belize inlets on Canada’s west coast, and the only connection with the sea is through Nakwakto Rapids. When the tide is running, the rapids rip around the island at up to 18 knots (20 mph.), recorded as the fastest tidal surge in the world. Such forceful movement of seawater through narrow channels actually causes the island to tremble, thus its local name, Tremble Island.
If I hadn’t experienced it myself I would not have believed that a rock island of that size could be shaken. The movement beneath my feet threw off my equilibrium. I was used to walking on a moving boat, however moving land was another thing altogether. Although the shaking wasn’t visible to the eye, I still needed to brace my feet and hold on to trees. When the tide finally slackened I was relieved to get off the island to the man-made security of a boat.
Standing on Tremble Island taught me something. Nothing in this world is secure, not even the ground I walked on. The people, places and things I looked to as stable and safe always had the potential to let me down. Realizing this didn’t make me a pessimist, just a realist. The world was in constant flux and I was caught up in its movement, like it or not.
Not long after standing on Tremble Island, all that I depended on in my life was knocked out from under me. My marriage, bank account and health all disintegrated within a few months and I was left floundering, swept along in the rapids of abandonment and hardship. Those rapids washed me up on the one surety left. God had long been the focus of my life, but now in a deeper way I found Him to be the solid Rock when all other ground was sinking sand.
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:1-2 NIV)
That firm place to stand is God Himself. He is the Rock, the foundation under girding all life. Jehovah is my rock, my fortress and my savior. I will hide in God, who is my rock and my refuge. (2 Samuel 22;2-3 LB)
There is a learning about God which can only occur in the slimy pit, the mud and mire of this often cruel world. When I think about that pain-filled period, I remember the deep anguish, the hurt, the fear, but most clear in my memory is the presence of God in those times. He was more real than any of my trials, comforting me when I lay sobbing on my bed, providing for my needs before I voiced them, giving me peace as I faced cancer treatments.
More than that, He was, and still is, the solid ground beneath my feet when all else was in turmoil around me. His loving closeness, His Spirit speaking to mine, the assurances in His Word, kept me upright through the worst storm I had ever faced.
Tremble Island still stands, in spite of its trembling through each tide change. It stands because it is a very large rock with foundations that go deep. I expect I will tremble too, with each trial which may come, but I trust in the Rock my feet stand upon; steadfast, immovable, the foundation of my whole being, and I will be secure.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 NIV)