I remember the first cruise I went on and how awe struck I was as we walked up the plank to step onto this huge ship. I've often wondered how something that big (220,000 tons) can float while some people who weigh 100 pounds sink in the water!! I was mesmerized by the size and grandeur of the ship and as we set sail, I felt as though I was in very unfamiliar territory. I had to learn my way around the ship. I struggled with taking a shower while the ship was moving. As we set out further and further into the sea, it felt like we were a speck on the landscape, despite how huge the ship was. When the storm came the first night, I learned why you take Dramamine on these cruises! Yes, I had embarked on a journey that was totally unfamiliar to me and though it took me a couple of days to get acclimated, it was totally worth it.
Jesus and his disciples often found themselves out on the sea. Sometimes they were getting from town to town on the water. Sometimes they were fishing. Sometimes they were just getting away from the crowds. They were familiar with the sea since most of them were fishermen. But the stories we know about their experiences on the seas include the times when storms raged, fish were hard to find and Jesus walked on water! It is clear that when these things happened to them, they needed help to acclimate and learn from the experiences.
Such are the storms, surprises and miracles that pop up in our lives. It is so easy for these experiences to overwhelm us and set us on a course of doubt, fear, confusion and/or distrust. In truth, these are the moments when we have the most profound opportunity to encounter the God who not only loves us beyond measure but is eager to walk with us as we learn to have hope, peace, clarity, and trust. Even in the face of things unfamiliar and sometimes painful, God is "all in" with us.
Our challenge is to lean into the Spirit that is filling the gaps and providing the strength we may not have. Our struggle is to adjust and realize that there is guidance as we get acclimated to something new. Our resistance is one of trusting in our own steam more than we trust God to move us through whatever is ahead.
So, I invite you into the fall season and the cruise that Spirit is inviting us to take. As Pastor Wes said on Sunday, I invite you to trust that "the anchor holds." I invite you to experience the vastness of God's love and care.
All Aboard! Be prepared to Doubt Your Doubts AND Have Faith in Your Faith!!!