Do you believe God guides us to a desired haven? Writing from the Upper Room at Berkley Manor on Ocracoke while a storm whips the treetops outside my window, I pause to read Psalm 107. The words bear witness as I watch boats being tossed to and from like the waves He made. Wind roars like the ocean’s cry. Ferry boats close – for there’s no safe passage until the sea subsides. Birds search for a safe haven until the storm passes. This experience draws me closer to the Christ I write about, who does guide us to safety when life’s storms knock the wind from our sails.
“They who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters. They see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind. Which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens. They go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wit’s end. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble. And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness. And for His wonderful works to the children of men. Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people. And praise Him in the company of the elders.”
The proof of His personal escort to safety is in the scriptures. The beauty of David’s writing takes each of us down to the sea where wonders of the deep and works of His Hand are seen. Have you ever been in a storm on the sea? This week I experienced deep sea fishing for the first time in my life. Watching the crew work in perfect harmony intrigued, as did the beauty of the Gulf Stream waters. When I reeled in two huge drums on the same line, my heart soared like the seagulls. When our limit was reached, we secured ourselves for the ride back to the island. Flashbacks to sailing on the ocean with TIm rose up as did the wake behind Mr. Jamin’s boat. Remembering a storm Tim and I weathered the second time we took our sailboat into the ocean made me smile. We sailed too close to the coastline for comfort. When the skies darkened, we hoisted the sails higher with speeds no amateurs should attempt. As we inched closer to the Jolly Roger, people on the pier panicked. Their screams were deafened by the roar of the sea, but their motions told us we were way too close for comfort. Tim stayed cool and collected as we sailed right past the fishermen. We could almost touch their fishing lines. It was after we tied up the boat and headed home that I could rest in the relief that this storm had passed and lessons were learned. God guided us away from the pier and into the our safe haven. That storm could have been disastrous. God kept us steady through the storm.
This poem reminds me of sea storms. Think of how God has shown His love and protection in your storms. He is in control of all things that you are facing.
“Our lives are not like ships being tossed helplessly upon the rough seas of life.
Jesus is the Lord over every circumstance we face.
He is using each difficulty and trial to work out His purposes in our lives –
To show us His power, to strengthen our faith, to purify our hearts, to deepen our joy.
In His perfect time He will speak His Word over our rough seas, and all will be calm again.”
When we were dating, Tim gave me a card with a sailboat sailing into a beautiful sunset. His written words divinely directed our course through life, “We are the sails; He is the wind.” God was our wind, even when we felt our sails were hanging limp in some storms; He was always there, giving His best.
When storms of death, divorce, or difficult situations leave our sails tattered to pieces, God will bring sunshine to our sorrow and wind to our sails. He knows what we need in order to find passage to peace and happiness in our lives. The choice to raise our sails again is ours.
When James came into my life, we experienced God’s guiding hand remove mindsets that told we would never sail (love) again. I told him it wouldn’t work because God was first and He wasn’t ready for that in my life. James told me he would never get in the way of God. How foolish I was to speak for God, who knew exactly what I needed and sent him. I thank God every day that He didn’t give up on us in our stubborn, set in our way, sad seasons. God gave divine signs to open our hearts to leave the harbor and sail again. Our happiness comes from a Father who loves us enough to give safe passage through the storms and fill our boats with a great catch, as He did for His Peter and John…and for me.
Through some storms, it seems our sails no longer have wind. God moves our boat – it’s our role to steer it. Do your sails no longer have wind to sail through your storms, to move you? Is your engine broken? Has God propelled you into the open sea only to stop midway with no options to return to a safe haven?
God might be saying it is time to die so that He might LIVE through you. Give the Lord control today…you will see His wind move through your tattered sails.
(Becky Spell is a long-time columnist and the owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.)