photo credit: dreamstime.com
There’s a reason the Navy has a saying, almost like a blessing, “Fair winds and following seas.”
The fear factor of ocean travel has always been a level ten for me. I think it’s amazing! I wonder at the vast courage of a several thousands of years of men, women, and children who have embarked on multitudes of sea voyages.
Without the hundreds of thousands of brave travelers, we would not have the global knowledge and technological advances we enjoy today.
The Horatio Hornblower movies, BBC version, was like viewing a foreign world for me. The vast unknown and the thought of a wild storm at sea makes me a landlubber. A cozy home, a bit of solid earth under my feet, a garden, loving friends and family nearby, and a few animals, well, that’s my happy place. My comfort zone.
Just a few weeks ago, one of my husband’s doctors said his body was undergoing “The Perfect Storm.” More bad news.
It’s a wild ride here. Things beyond our control, and out of the doctor’s control are raging in our lives right now. Like a ship being tossed by waves that are several stories high, we have no idea how to survive this. God is our only Rock of safety and Refuge in this storm. There’s no other Help for us. We’re not shaking our fists at Him.
Even when and if the storm ceases, our ship is never going to look the same again. Not here on this earth. Battered, scarred, broken pieces dangling and useless… at least that’s what we’re tempted to think right now in the middle of the raging seas.
Maybe broken is beautiful?! God’s plans are not lost at sea. He brings all of His children safely to the Golden Shore. No wonder Jesus slept through the storm while his disciples thought, “Don’t you care that we are about to DIE?” He trusted His Father completely.
Guess what? I’m waaay out of my comfort zone as a care-giving wife. It’s not a voyage I would have chosen. Lately I’ve done a lot of yelling and crying out in fear, just like Peter’s failed attempt to walk on water. “Lord, save me.” I do trust You. I’m just not perfectly trusting like Jesus who could sleep in the middle of a massive storm. “Lord, help my unbelief.”
I cannot possibly fathom the outcome of this storm. I don’t know how to navigate these stormy seas by myself. I cry. every. single. day.
I know for sure some of you ladies are right there with me. The sisterhood of the storm-battered and broken. So I’m reminding all of us, myself most of all, of three simple ways to let Jesus pilot us through these storms.
Number one: Keep God’s Word before you every single day. Listen. Read. Write down a verse.
I am blessed to have the Psalms on CD. I sometimes have time to listen to Sermon Audio online. The Lord’s Day finds me in church. At times I cannot hold back the tears as God’s Word echoes truth to my heart. Truth is my life raft.
Number two: Tell God every single thing. Every doubt. Every fear. Every angry thought. He hears your cry above the howling storm.
He already knows. Pour out your heart before Him. He can take it. Quite possibly no other human can. We’re tempted to really wish they could. It’s impossible for us to fully understand anothers’ burden. Even Christian counselors can’t see every facet of what is going on in your story. Helpful, but not always right. Like Job’s friends and wise counselors, none of them got it quite right, though they did have a lot of godly knowledge.
However, God knows every last hair on your head. While He often does use others to help guide us on our way, when the going gets too complicated, His wisdom never fails. Cry out to God who alone is our salvation.
Number three: Remember you are not the first or only person to sail through impossibly stormy seas.
Check out Hebrews 11 through 13. Read the stories of brave folk who lived through wars. I love a couple biographies, especially. One of them has been made into a movie, The Hiding Place. Corrie Ten Boom and her family were doing God’s work in Holland during WWII, rescuing Jews who were being rounded up by the Nazis.
Then some ugly, twisted soul tipped off the Gestapo. Corrie, her sickly sister Betsie, and her aged father were sent to concentration camps. Corrie was the only one to physically survive to tell the story. Beatings, starvation, personal humiliation, slave labor, cold, illness, fleas, watching her sister suffer, and not being able to bury her — she survived raging seas and stormy sorrow.
She lived to praise and glorify God, though her ship was battered and scarred.
Now that’s how I want my story to end. What about you? Are you hanging on for dear life? Post in the comments section, so we can pray for each other.
Acknowledgement of Thomas Kincaide’s painting. I took a pic of a portion of a print I own that was painted by him.
Uncharted territory. Many waters. Enemies too strong for me.
Psalm 18 is the inside scoop. David was anointed by God to be the next king of Israel. His life at this point in time looked anything but kingly.
He looked more like Robin Hood and his band of merry men, hiding out from the current administration and foraging for food. Of course, they did a little fighting on the side to keep the enemies of God’s people at bay. His was a story of close calls and narrow escapes.
You can hear the inner anguish and exhaustion in his voice in verses 4-6,
” The pangs of death surrounded me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears…”
Strong, mighty David, distressed and afraid!?!
What blesses me was that he went humbly to his knees.
Prayers of God’s children do not go unheard. Listen to the beautiful promises of verses 25-27:
“With the merciful You will show yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show yourself blameless;
With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
And with the devious you will show Yourself shrewd.
For you will save the humble people,
But will bring down haughty looks.”
On my hands and knees this week in that War Room, I knew this.
I am not perfectly merciful, perfectly blameless, perfectly pure. How can my cries be heard?
But, oh, I’m humbly on my knees asking to be so. To be like the sinless Son of God…And I won’t quit praying! I want David’s triumph. See verses 28-36.
“For You will light my lamp; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God His way is perfect;
The Word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
And sets me on my high places.
He teaches my hands to make war,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You also have given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
You enlarged my path under me so that my feet did not slip.”
This broken life can be made perfect, because His way is perfect.
In the suffering, His glory will yet shine through.
My story, your story is not finished yet.
But it takes the Mighty God to come and give us that “happily ever after” ending that we all long for.
Don’t give up in the heat of the battle.
Cry David’s prayers with me.
We can all dance for joy when the answers come!
This is the day that the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:
But! But perhaps today is a day when the reality of sickness, sorrow, pain, and even death have come crashing down around you.
Maybe you married the man of your dreams, and both of your existences have been shattered by months and years of chronic pain.
You find out your loved one has cancer. Or there is no cure for the disease your loved one has.
Maybe the disease is even nameless because no doctor can put his finger on it. It still exists. Give it a name. The monster is disease!
Disease wreaks havoc on our lives. No one who has not lived with chronic illness can really fathom the depth of this havoc. I’ve given up trying to explain this to those who are healthy. Who can explain the unexplainable?
How? Just how do you and I worship our Maker, Creator, Redeeemer on His holy day when we are so broken? And why would we?
Truth! I woke up this morning wondering about worship. Sad of heart. Weary of the sorrows that have multiplied in my life and those around me. But knowing this: I will worship. I was created to worship. All who live and breath worship someone, something.
Maybe it’s money. (HA! Think — our current political scene). Maybe it’s nature. Or beauty. Or goodness. Or ideology. Education. Or any form of peace, even if it’s based on lies.
What is on the top of your pedestal?
In this broken world ravaged by war, hate, cruelty, disease, poverty, and death, hardly a day goes by that I don’t breathe this prayer.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“Those who are whole do not need a physician. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus mentioned worship in spirit and truth to a woman who had experienced five broken marriages and was currently living outside of God’s plan for marriage.
He spoke to this woman at the well — not righteous by a long shot. And why does he mention worship to her? Not only that, He offers her water, the water of true living.
“…the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”
Most amazing of all — this next scene. Listen closely! This woman, outcast of society, asks Him about the the promised Messiah. She gets the most clear-cut answer. No hidden message. Earlier Christ clearly exposed her sin, and she knew it. Now He reveals himself, to her and pulls no punches.
“I who speak to you am He.” John 4:26
If you are outside the Christian faith, please know that to be a Christian you have to believe the clear-cut claims of Christ.
Jesus Christ goes on record clearly stating both His Deity and His power to grant living water – eternal life. Either He is truly the Son of God, or He is a flagrant liar.
And to be a follower of Jesus, you need to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.
Why? Because, ” My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
When we worship in community, in spirit and in truth, He restores our souls. He leads us beside still waters.
His Word corrects our straying feet and keeps us in paths of righteousness.
And even the imperfect, straying sheep in our flock can learn to reflect His love and wisdom to comfort each other. It may take a lifetime. Some sheep are more ornery than others, truth!
But also remember that He leads His flock gently and cares tenderly for the bruised and broken.
Every elder, every undershepherd ought to have this heart for the flock. With this hope and anticipation, I drag my weary body out of bed each Lord’s Day. I need rest for my soul. So I seek to hear His voice, not just alone, but in community with His sheep in His house on His day.
Let me encourage you, weary as you may be, to choose worship in community.
Again, our satellite internet went down yesterday. I was unable to post. My apologies!
Well, it happened! I lost today’s post. It was on Word Press, and then it wasn’t.
I really wanted to share this encouraging post by Scott Sauls. I read it three times this week.
I hope the link works and this is a blessing for you.
Let me know if you can open the link, okay? I really hope this encourages you despite my snafu.