The Wind in Our Sails

(Originally posted on Grace4today.org – August 6th 2014)

It was a beautifully calm day with not much wind, so after taking the boat out of it’s mooring, Captain Theo powered out into the channel. After a while the wind picked up slightly, enough to allow us to unfurl the sails Though the sails were up and the boat was moving, there wasn’t much “sailing” involved. But it was fun anyway, and we slowly made our way past the Whitestone and up to the Throg”s Neck Bridge. Having driven over the these bridges on occasion – more than once being stuck in traffic – it was an interesting perspective seeing it from from the water.

On our way back the wind died completely, and Captain Theo had to use the engines to power back in. All in all it was a great time of fellowship and a good experience for all of us. It was clear however, that a good sailing experience requires an adequate amount of wind to drive the sails. It reminded me that in the journey of life we need some wind in our sails, as well.

In the Gospel of Mark (4:35-41), the author relates the account of the stilling of the storm. The story begins with Jesus telling His disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” While on the sea of Galilee, a “great windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.” The disciples, fearful for their lives, cried out to Jesus, who was asleep in the boat, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Jesus awoke and rebuked the wind and the sea saying, “Peace, be still.”

This account is usually told from the perspective of Jesus calming the storms in people’s lives. From a hermeneutical point of view this is correct, but what if Jesus had not calmed the storm? What if He had allowed the disciples to sail through the storm? The disciples – Peter, James and John at least – were fishermen by profession, so they should not have been afraid of the storm. If anything, Jesus should have been more concerned (He was a carpenter). In any event, He took a nap, and left the sailing to the sailors! The disciples responded, however, the way most people would respond in a crisis – even the experts – they called for help. Jesus quickly resolved their dilemma, while chastising them for a lack of faith. Question is, did they learn anything from the experience? That Jesus would answer when they called? I’m sure they knew that! That He was Lord of the wind and the waves? They would have found that out eventually!

We need a few storms to teach us how to navigate the waters of life. There are times, I believe, when God wants us to go over “to the other side” even though He knows full well that a storm is brewing. Considering the fact that Jesus is the Lord of the wind and waves, are we to assume that He did not know a storm was coming? I think not! Sometimes we need a stiff wind to simply keep us going. Sailing in calm waters is not exciting. It is easy to think that conditions of calm, with a slight breeze, is more to be desired, but I do not think so. I believe that ultimately the people who are most successful; the ones who achieve the most in life, are the ones who struggle. The ones who fall and get up again; the people who surmount obstacle after obstacle, are the people who will go far. While it may be a bit unreasonable to pray for, or expect storms in our lives, we at least need a good wind in our sails.

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