Come with me to the shores of Lake Erie. We have two boats to launch at Erie View Marine. One boat is a 40’ power cruiser with a big engine and a cabin below deck. The other is a smaller 26’ sailboat, also with a cabin.
As we launch the two boats to cross to the American side, the sky is a mix of sun and clouds with fifteen knots of wind blowing from the Northwest. There is some chop on the lake and the forecast calls for 50% chance of precipitation.
As the Ontario shore becomes a fading line behind you, the wind suddenly picks up, the sky darkens and lightning cracks. Within minutes, you are in a dark storm with seven-foot waves and pelting rain and wind.
The question is not which boat usually gets you to the American side quickest—the powerboat is capable of greater speed.
It is not a question of which boat has the most creature comfort; again the larger powerboat has more cabin room, a large screen TV and queen size bed.
It is a question of which boat is best in the storms. The answer is the sailboat. It is not likely to sink even it takes on water or capsizes. It is a safer vessel.
In fact, you will find the sailboat performs better in rougher conditions. On a calm day with little to no wind, the powerboat roars to life and cuts the surface with rapid motion. The sailboat needs a little wind to do anything. With a strong wind, the sailboat performs its best.
While other boats seem to struggle in high waves and strong wind, the sailboat is faster and more efficient with its sails full and its lines stretched tight.
We all find ourselves in the storms of life. The question is what are we to do with the anxious pressures we face at these times?
Jesus observed this about his generation:
There are plenty of people who can predict weather easier than they can understand the times they live in. Who is discerning what God is trying to do in current conditions?
Many sailboats have a small backup motor to assist them in still water to move carefully into their berth at dock. It is an assistive device, but useless on open water when the waves and wind express their greater power.
The only thing that can match the power of wind and waves is the sail. How many people try to get through life with the little assist motor when they really need their sails unfurled? What are the little things in life that you use to get by? Good coffee? Cigarettes? Couch naps? Sex? Television? A workout at the gym? Alcohol? While all these things give you some comfort or relief, they are not enough to help you overcome the storms and get to the other side. How can you stay on course and even gain speed in stormy conditions?
Sailing in the storm requires that we will be guided by discipline and wisdom, not passion or loose living. As a Christian we set our sails for the conditions through the act of meditation. As we commune with God, we learn how to sail in rough seas. We listen for the voice of the Captain and obey his wise direction. We take comfort in knowing that he earned his scars as a sailor and will guide us safely to our destination. His character and grit have been shaped by storms.
What is your sail? What is there in you that catches the wind, stretches full and empowers your direction? The human spirit is meant to be filled with God’s Spirit.
Turn off the little ‘putt-putt’ motor you have been using to guide you and open up the sail of your spirit to the magnificent power of God’s Wind.