Sailing can be exciting if you have the right captain! Years ago, in my teen years, at a summer camp, I went on a sailing trip with some buddies. The trip took place on a lake in the Northern Ontario – a lake known for its shifting and unpredictable winds. We were to set up camp on the opposite side of the lake. Crossing it, was therefore a necessity.
After raising the sail and setting out, the wind filled the sail, and the boat began to lean…more and more…to the point that we were frightened and panicked. We turned around and headed for a tamer place near the shore. We took some time to think about a course of action. We knew that we had to get across the lake. When the wind subsided a little, we tried again -only to find ourselves in the same predicament. After making three or four attempts, we stopped.
We noticed a Camp close by and put into the shore. After we landed, we were introduced to the sailing instructor – an experienced sea Captain who offered his help. Encouraged by this, we all clamored into the boat again. Before, we set sail, he told us what to expect and how to react and even where to sit. Most importantly, he urged us to stay alert and calm, as things change quickly and it is very difficult to think and focus when we are panicked.
Needless to say, the trip across the lake was a blast! When the wind came up, the Captain knew what to do and because he had taught us, we did too. When the boat tilted into the wind, we were not panicked but were ready. We crossed the lake and unloaded our supplies in no time! Then, we practiced our new skills and crossed the lake once again to return the captain to his camp. The rest of the trip was terrific.
“The sea” is a common theme in Scripture. For the most part, the sea is a place representative of uncertainty, unpredictability, and perhaps chaos. In the beginning, before the Creation, the bible tells us that the earth was formless and the Spirit of the Lord, moved over the waters. (Genesis 1). God’s first creative act was to bring order. In the New Testament, after Jesus and his disciples put out from shore, a fierce storm suddenly swirls around them and Jesus is awakened from sleep and calms the storm. On another occasion, Jesus walks across the water late at night to meet his disciples. He calls Peter to come out to meet him on the water. After taking a few steps on the water, Peter is overwhelmed by the wind and waves and begins to sink. Jesus reaches out his hand to save Peter.
It is fitting to equate our present culture and circumstances to a tumultuous sea. The Increasingly intense and damaging natural disasters affecting millions in different countries; conflict and unrest between nations, civil unrest in within countries nations, remind us of our need to become or remain focused and anchored to Jesus who, as an experienced Captain not only provides perspective but also leads us safely to the shore. Where is your focus? What does your sea look like? Who do you rely on when the winds of change or challenge swirl around you? I encourage you to seek out the Captain, who will meet you where you are.