I have spent the last few minutes reading my past posts on this blog, and I realized that God has had me on a journey to explore the whole boat analogy as it relates to my life and my walk with Jesus.
My first post relating to boats was about how the disciples went out with Jesus in a boat, and when things got rough, they completely forgot about him. Jesus, sleeping quietly in a corner somewhere, was completely overlooked.
My lesson was not to let fear make me forget about the One who has the ability to calm the storm and sea.
Soon after, I continued the sleeping-in-the-boat analogy, except I longed, like Jesus, to sleep in the midst of all the chaos and fear that life throws at me. Seems like I’ve had more than my share of chaos and disruptions in the last decade! I wanted to learn to trust so completely that someone has to wake me up to see how God’s put it all in place!
I just watched the movie “The Shack,” and it seems like maybe there’s a new lesson for me to be learned from boats!
To set the scene up for you, the main character, Mack, has gone out on a lake in a rowboat. Jesus tells him that there’s something He wants to show Mack on the other side of the lake, but that He will join him after finishing something up in the shop.
Mack gets halfway across the lake and then stops, almost as if he’s enjoying the peace, the slap of the water against the sides of the boat. Dipping his hand into the water and pulling it back out, he realizes that the water is oily, black, and nasty.
At this point, the boat begins breaking apart. First a crack and then a hole spurting water, it’s clear that the boat won’t last much longer.
In the middle of the chaos, Mack hears Jesus’ voice telling him not to look at the battered boat, to focus on Him, Jesus. He stares horrified and transfixed as the water continues to pour in; he glances at Jesus, but his eyes are drawn back to the disaster that’s happening to him. The boat is soon half submerged. It’s only as it is almost under the murky water, Mack sitting in water up to his waist, that he locks eyes with Jesus.
In that very moment, the boat is once again under him, intact, bobbing on the waves. He breathes a huge sigh of relief. His boat is as he knows and wants it, once again secure.
Then Jesus holds out a hand, inviting him out of the boat onto the waves.
Let me interrupt myself to tell you what’s been going on with us in the first quarter of this year!
Late last year, 2016, my husband was contacted by a businessman that he knew and trusted about being involved in a start-up offering services to the military. It seemed like an awesome opportunity, and he’s been working part time, unpaid, to create budgets, meet with potential employees, etc. His start date — as in full-time and starting to get a paycheck — was March 1, just a month or so ago.
At the end of January, we were contacted by the man who owns the house we live in. For the second time in three years, we found out that the rental property we were living in would be sold. This time, however, we had ample time to plan; our landlord indicated that they would be selling in August.
Then also in late January, we found out that our still-new-to-us minivan had sustained subtle and undetected damage last summer during a hailstorm, and after a month of negotiating, the insurance company determined that it was totaled. Unfortunately, what they valued the van at wouldn’t cover the balance of our loan.
So, right around March 1 of this year, we found out that funding for the new job hadn’t come through, despite the fact that my husband had already given his two-week notice at his former job, leaving us with no paycheck anywhere on the horizon.
Our vehicle was totaled, leaving us with a $2,000 balance to pay on the auto loan.
And, we’ll have to find a new house in the next four or five months.
Yeah. My boat’s breaking apart and the water’s pouring in!
I’ve been watching in horror as each new thing hits, trying to focus on Jesus, knowing that He’s got it all handled and that He’s taken care of our family in the past faithfully.
It’s not like I want outrageous things! My hopes are relatively modest, I believe. I simply want a paycheck to cover bills. I want a new, used, decent vehicle. Tired of feeling like we have no control over our own housing, we want to buy a house rather than rent again.
In fact, with this new start-up opportunity, there was enough of a raise that I’d even begun to hope for upgrades to my boat! A nicer, newer used vehicle! Perhaps we might actually be able to look for a home with horse property — a dream of mine since childhood!
I didn’t want a yacht. I wasn’t hoping for new and shiny. I would have been happy with cushions on the bow seat and perhaps an outboard motor. Nothing fancy.
Suddenly, instead of upgrades, I watched my boat begin to slide under the waters.
Then, in the movie, Jesus restores Mack’s boat! All is well! This has been my hope and prayer since everything started caving in! It’s what I’ve believed God for in our lives!
And, then it hits me.
God doesn’t want us in the boat at all. He wants us out of the boat!
How much time and energy we devote to taking care of the boat! Tending the boat, upgrading the boat, and praying thanks for the boat — when all along, it might be the very thing that’s standing between us and what would be best for us in our walk with Jesus!
I’ve decided that I’m going to be thankful when my boat is restored…even if it’s a life raft…or a half-submerged log floating by. What I’m going to start praying for is that I will see opportunity to step out of the boat!
I’m going to pray that God changes my heart from dreading uncertainty, and that He shows me the delight and the miracles along the way, just like Jesus then shows Mack the beauty of His creation as they walk along the top of the waves.