Saturday, December 11, 2010

In Your Boat

I was really young when I first sailed.  And in fact, I didn't just sail.  I raced.  Some of our family friends owned sailboats and raced all the time.  They had children my age and I was invited along.  I remember having the real possible fear we would tip over.  I slipped several times and I had to work hard without any training.  It was fast paced and overwhelming.  I remember getting queazy.  In fact, I've thrown up off the side of many boats, including sailboats, speed boats, and ferry's.  The most exciting place I ever tossed my cookies into the water was from a parasail.... but that is probably tmi.  I also nearly drowned in an ocean near Savannah, Georgia.  Not good times.

You can imagine, I'm not a big fan of water.  It is beautiful.  I respect it.  But keep me out of it.  Please.

In a body of water, far away from the shore is a intimidating and dangerous place to be.  Whether lake, ocean or swamp, waters are deadly.  Those boats we putter around in are barely a safety net.  Engines break down.  Leaks threaten.  Sails tear.  Communication can fail.  And then there is the unknown underneath - traps, deadly animals, blades, and sometimes contaminants.  Why does anyone really go out into the waters to begin with?  I imagine it is for the beauty or for the solitude or for the quiet or for the mystery or for the sport and challenge of it.  If this earth is two-thirds water the oceans and other bodies of water offer the best options for escape, despite the dangers.

Whether you love the waters and/or boating or not, I think we can all agree that waters are powerful, more powerful than we are.  And no one can know your experience in your boat, unless they are in it with you.  For decades I have heard variances of the saying "we're not in the same boat" or "but you're not in my boat".  The deal is, we don't know if that boat is dark, if it is leaking, if it is surrounded by hungry sharks, if the engine stopped working, or the anchor just won't reach the bottom.  We don't know if that boat is carrying 21 conflicting personalities or one lonely captain. That popular saying is used in everyday conversation and to me it makes a lot of sense.  Indeed, we are not in the same boat.

It is raining a lot here today.  I keep having a vision of boats, and as I presume is strongly influced by the Christmas season, I keep having visions of Jesus walking on the water to get back to the boat of His friends.  The men were supposed to wait for Him in the boat at the shoreline while Jesus went up the mountain to pray.  Instead, they drifted out a good distance from the shore.  But there was no distance, truly no conditions that would hold Jesus back from walking out to join His friends in their boat.

No matter what our circumstances, Jesus will join with us in our boats.  No distance nor darkness nor shark can keep Him from His beloved.  You're not in this boat alone.


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