Smooth Sailing

Battered and beaten.

It’s the only way to describe them.

Every day, we see and hear from them—humanity so tired of swimming against the current and weary of struggling to overcome the storm. They are ready to surrender.

Surrender. I’m considering it myself. Well—I was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the wind recently. It was especially true today, as I took a break from the struggle of everyday life to walk awhile with the Lovely Lady.

I love spending time with her, but it makes me tired sometimes. Oh, you know what I mean. We walked a couple of miles today, all of it uphill and against the wind.

That may be an exaggeration. I seem to remember a very short time when the wind was not blowing against us—a very short time.

Recently, I wrote of the goodness and mercy that would pursue us all our days—the expectation of the poet who penned Psalm 23. On that occasion, I came to the conclusion that it followed us as we pursued the prize set before us, the time when we will spend eternity with God.

I don’t want to make it sound as if all of life is hardship and trial. It’s not. But, if we are, as I believe to be true, on a pilgrimage, a journey, we are going to have to keep moving ahead.

And frequently, moving ahead means going straight into the wind.  Straight into it.

I heard a blessing, of sorts, spoken the other day. I remember that when I heard it, I immediately decided it was exactly what I needed.

Fair winds, and following seas.

Peaceful, isn’t it? It’s meant to be.

A naval blessing, it is spoken often about a sailor who has died. A smooth passage, aided by gentle breezes and currents moving in the same direction. Difficulty past, ease lies ahead.

I want it now. Today.

But, here’s the thing. While there have been, and will be, times of relative quiet and calm, our calling isn’t to drift along on the current, carried to whatever destination the sea has picked out for us.

I realized something, as I contemplated that phrase earlier, along with the wind the Lovely Lady and I battled on our “relaxing” walk today.

For a few recent days, it seems I actually have had fair winds. The waves, so heavy and angry barely weeks ago, have flattened out and are almost gently rocking the boat on its passage.

At the risk of sounding like a pessimist, I am promising it won’t last. I hope you won’t misunderstand me. It’s a good thing.

Our path has already been charted. Through the waves and the wind, it lies. If, in our fear, we turn the rudder to run ahead of the storm, we will never reach the harbor. Never.

If, in our fear, we turn the rudder to run ahead of the storm, we will never reach the harbor. Click To Tweet

It is only through the storm, braving the wind, that we will reach those fair winds and following seas.

As we enter the harbor, battles fought, storms past, we will finally rest from our labor.

I’m not in harbor yet; the voyage is not yet completed.

But, at least for right now, the current is flowing the same direction I am. For a little while.

The Teacher said the words to His exhausted friends. Come away with me. (Mark 6:31-34)

They, ready to drop, welcomed the promise of rest. Perhaps, they misunderstood. The rest they expected never happened. The following crowds caught up to them, needing to be healed and then to be fed. And then, their beloved Teacher stuck them on a boat in the middle of the lake with a storm blowing up.

Terrified. Tired. Confused.

They rowed frantically, making no headway against the storm.

He walked to them upon the wild waves and, clambering over the side of the boat, reminded them they needed to rest.

Okay. What He said was that they had no reason to fear.

It means the same thing.

The Savior who walks on the storm is in control. On dry land—on glassy smooth seas—in the wildest, stormiest night—He speaks peace. Still.

Fair winds, and following seas will be ours.  They will.

The harbor lies up ahead.  Really.

The waves and wind still know His voice.

Rest.

 

 

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
(from Am I A Soldier Of The Cross by Isaac Watts ~ English hymnwriter ~ 1674-1748)

 

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.
(Augustine of Hippo ~ Early Christian Theologian ~ 354-430)

 

 

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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