The ocean captures my imagination. I love its power and beauty, especially at sunset. Although I have only been on it once as a passenger on a short cruise in Depoe Bay, I deeply respect those brave enough to venture out farther into the void. So expansive is the Pacific Ocean. So wild and untamed.
Without the right instruments of nautical navigation and the practical expertise to use them, an ocean adventure would be foolish. The adventurer could well find himself lost at sea with a swarm of a jelly fish and shark chefs all-too-ready to add him to their menu. Therefore, he must diligently concentrate on the task of navigating his vessel, both for his protection and that of his crew.
He charts his course in advance, takes into account oceanic and weather conditions, and then makes minute adjustments as necessary while underway to account for the ever-changing winds and tides.
He cannot and does not set it and forget it. So why do so many of us do that in life? I have fielded two general questions in various forms from both those considering whether to follow Jesus, and those who have done so for a season:
1. “If I choose to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior, will all my problems go away?”
2. “Hey, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. It should all be smooth sailing from there, right? So why has everything gone sideways on me? Where is God?”
If the sea captain cannot navigate the ocean without the continual diligent use and application of nautical navigation instruments, then why do people expect life in Christ to be any different? There is no automatic hands-free navigation in Christian living. It requires an orientation on the Lord God through his written Word as the Holy Spirit helps us to understand what it means and how to apply it. Prayer is the necessary companion to Bible reading and study. The task of seeking God’s wisdom involves both and is postured in a submission to the Lordship of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son whom I have chosen; listen to him (Luke 9:35 NIV).
We love because he (God) first loved us (1 John 4:19 NIV).
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV).
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105 NIV).