Updated: Oct 5
We all want to feel alive. We all desire to live a life of adventure, where faith treads confidently on the open seas of life. Yet many of us find our faith docked in the comfort or safety of the harbour.
Life is frequently compared to a journey. Much like a ship sailing on open waters, life often presents unpredictable challenge – calm waters suddenly become storm impacted waters, or clear sailing is suddenly beset with calm, uneventful waters that can make you feel that life has come to a grinding halt. In such times, faith becomes the anchor that stabilizes – an anchor that provides confidence that you are not alone; an anchor that offers strength where strength might feel compromised; and an anchor that stirs the sense of purpose that will always keep your focus centred. Whether you draw on faith based in your relationship with God, or you draw on a faith that rests on previous experience - belief in something greater will always help you navigate the open seas of life.
Bobbie and I are well rehearsed when it comes to “faith on open seas”. She writes of a harrowing storm experience in her book Stay the Path, but suffice to say, as newlyweds we thought we were in a scene resembling the movie Titanic. Fortunately, no one perished, but from the outset of our marriage we were destined to navigate and sail many different waters in fulfilling God’s destiny and purpose upon our lives. Scripture records many lessons and divine principles from ocean experience. Here are a handful of thoughts to stir your thinking:
1. Embrace the Unknown:
Just as sailors embark on voyages with degrees of uncertainty, life will throw us at times into the vast unknown. Knowing that we cannot control every aspect of the journey, knowing that challenge is an inevitable aspect of growth, and acknowledging the unpredictable nature of existence - faith grounds you and enables you to embrace what is before you. Faith and fear cannot co-exist, so faith teaches us to relinquish the fear and place our trust in God.
2. Find Strength in Storms:
As mentioned with our honeymoon story, storms at sea can be tumultuous and disorienting. They will test the mettle of even the most seasoned sailors. Similarly life's storms can leave us feeling battered, bruised and lost. However, faith always acts as a guiding light. In such times we discover what our inner reservoir of strength and resilience looks like. Growing that faith reservoir provides the courage to face adversity head-on. And as with the nature of life and season, calmer seas always lie beyond the tempest.
3. Seek Purpose:
The vastness of a deep expansive ocean evokes wonder and awe. Similarly, faith opens the door to wide open spaces in God. Faith is the doorway to purpose. Faith takes us from the mundane of life and exposes us to the grandness of God and His plans for our lives. It helps us to understand we have a place in the grand tapestry of existence. With faith growing in our experience, we discover direction in life. Goal setting and execution of those goals becomes easier as we apply the timeless principles of faith, understanding and wisdom. Faith isn’t the domain of a gifted or elite few. Faith is a measure entrusted to everyone, and everyone, in turn, has the capacity to grow that measure into something beyond natural imagination.
4. Embrace the Present:
When sailing on open seas, sailors must remain fully present, attentive to the waters they are in, and attuned to the possibilities of changed conditions ahead. Likewise, faith encourages us to live fully and wholeheartedly in the present. God is definitively “the God of past, present and future” – but the present is what demands our full attention. Appreciate the season you are in and be mindful that the current season either sets you up to flourish, or flounder in the next. The past can represent so much in the human experience, and the future can be daunting for everyone but don’t allow the past to sabotage your story. Deal and learn from any regrets you may have but then move on and embrace what is before you. As the verse below says, “this is the day that the Lord has made”. Stir up the gift and measure within your soul and find the joy and gladness within the day entrusted.
5. Connect with Others:
Sailing the open seas brings sailors together in a spirit of camaraderie and shared purpose. Similarly, faith can foster a powerful sense of community. The faith I’m sharing about is seen at its finest in a local (Christ centered) church setting that brings individuals together with common belief, value and Kingdom purpose. Such an environment will cultivate godly connection wherein encouragement, compassion, empathy, understanding and the attributes of God’s heart towards humanity will flourish.
There is so much that could be said, but I pray that these thoughts above inspire you to dig deeper when it comes to your own personal experience of faith. Don't remain stuck in the harbour of the known. Rather set sail with faith undergirding who you are, and all you put your hand to. Embrace the unknown, find strength when you need it, and seek God’s Kingdom in all you do. Savor the present and appreciate those with whom you do life with. Faith is a “faithful compass” that will always guide you perfectly with grace, resilience and an inspiring sense of purpose.