Prepared to Sail On . . .

Dear Friends,

I would like to share this edited devotional that references Exodus 15:25:

“I once visited the testing room of a large steel mill. I was surrounded by instruments and equipment that tested pieces of steel to their limits and measured their breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and then labeled with the level of pressure they could withstand. Some had been stretched to their breaking point, their level of strength also noted. Others had been compressed to their crushing point and measured. Because of the testing, the manager of the mill knew exactly how much stress and strain each piece of steel could endure if it was used to build a ship, building, or bridge.

It is often much the same with God’s children. He does not want us to be like fragile vases of glass or porcelain. He wants us to be like these toughened pieces of steel, able to endure twisting and crushing pressure to the utmost without collapse.

God does not want us to be like greenhouse plants, which are sheltered from rough weather, but like storm-beaten oaks; not like sand dunes that are driven back and forth by every gust of wind, but like granite mountains that withstand the fiercest storms. Yet to accomplish this, He {often} must take us into His testing room . . . ” J. H.        From L. B. Cowman – Streams in the Desert Devotional

From L. B. Cowman – Streams in the Desert Devotional

Prior to reading this, a pastor/friend referred me to Mica 6:8. This then led me to additional Bible verses: Deuteronomy 10:11-12, 6:4-6; Matthew 22:37-40. Which seemed affirming and interesting to me in these interesting times. And, related to the above devotional. These verses affirm the basics of Christianity: to love the Lord our God with all that we are (body, soul and spirit), and to love others as He has given His love to us.

For a long time, the Lord has been emphasizing and replenishing the basics of my foundation in Christ, renewing daily a healthy relationship with him, so I am equipped to sail the ship that is ‘I’ in storms. When storms hit, we revert to our basic natures, training and base-line attitudes. If we are experienced with and trained by the Helmsman, when storms come, these skills kick in and we instinctively do the necessaries keep the ship afloat and arrive home in one piece.

So, I am asked to examine what my base line is; what my instinctual responses are; where I have built up inner resources in the calm times.   If I habitually sail on sand, it can be OK for a season—even fun. Picture a ship with runners on the hull for flying over the dunes. But when sandstorms hit full force, the soul-searing winds bury the runners, and heave the ship. Sandstorms can bury you and have the potential of robbing you of sight and the ability to breathe. Strange analogy I know . . . but picture it: all your natural sailing skills are buried in the desert fierceness.

If I sail in waters, the sailing is natural—what ships are created for, even when storms hit. Of course, you could always be lost at sea in any storm. But, if you are in the natural element the ship is intended for, the odds are much more in your favor . . . especially when you are an experienced sailor.

And, how do we get experience to outsmart the sea? We know the answer. Mentoring from the seaman who knows the ship and understands the sea. Time spent in study, experience and mentoring by our experienced Helmsman usually brings the right auto-responses when the sea attempts to drown us.

So, as a Christian, my ‘safe place in the storm’ is to be grounded and experienced in the basics of relationship with Creator God and His gift of love to us by Jesus. He asked us to love Him with all that we are. That basic relationship brings the skills, mentoring, experience and reflexes needed to survive when the storms hit.

There is one addendum to this basic truth: this relationship has to be freshly experienced every day; renewed with purpose sometimes moment by moment in order for it to be visceral. It is an odd relationship. God is faithful, but we are not always so. His survival supply is unlimited. We run dry too quickly.

Our best shot at survival is to dip from the well of his Presence so often our responses are quick and normal. The key is to access our Source habitually, to spontaneously be tapped into our God, who will supply all when storms hit. And, even when outcomes are not what we hope for, we will still know how to sail on. Trust me, I know this to be true.

Keep looking up,

© August 28, 2016