December 1, 2020

Sailing In Deep Waters

If I had a boat
I’d go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I’d ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

Lyle Lovett, If I Had A Boat

The walls of college dorm rooms, at least for guys, are just big bulletin boards. When I was in school, we stuck posters, pictures and notes on any free surface. I, of course, had a poster of Pete Rose above my bed. My roommate had pictures of his girlfriend back in Ohio over the desk. But there was one poster I put up that caused no end of dissension between my roomie/best friend and me. It was a picture of a single-mast sailboat out at sea. The caption below it read, A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

This quote is from John A. Shedd’s book, Salt From My Attic, written in 1928. Don’t run to Amazon to order yours; only 500 copies were printed, and it is a very hard book to find today. But the quote made its way to an Argus poster that made its way into our room. I loved it–I felt a call from God to deeper things. But my roommate didn’t understand it.

“If a ship is safe in the harbor, why doesn’t it just stay there?” he would ask.

“Then why build it in the first place?” I countered. “It might as well stay a tree in the woods.”

We would go round and round on this issue, then give it up and go eat or play basketball. (I know some actually studied in college. We gave it a try once, but found it unsatisfying.) Yet the words on the poster have never left me.

Safety has been my default through life. I did safe things in my church–believing what I was told to believe. I read the Bible in a safe way, never questioning when I didn’t understand. I went to a “safe” Christian college.  I read safe books and (mostly) listened to safe music. I didn’t go where there was known sin, like to rated-R movies or rock concerts or to parties where non-Christians might hang out. At least I didn’t do these things too often. And when I did, I felt guilty for straying away from the safe harbor.

My life has been an endless pursuit of safety. Even though many have told me for years I have the spirit of an entrepreneur, I have sought employment from others for the safety of a steady paycheck. I live in a safe, middle-class neighborhood where my kids went to a safe public school. (There are so many Christian teachers in this school system it might as well be labeled a Christian school.)

But there is that call still. Come out into the deep waters. Leave the safe harbor and sail into the deep.

The psalmist wrote,

Some went off to sea in ships,
plying the trade routes of the world.
They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action,
his impressive works on the deepest seas.

(Psalm 107: 23, 24 NLT)

Deep waters are very scary. It is where you are miles–maybe hundreds of miles–from the nearest shore. The waves in the deep are huge, taller than buildings, taller than the ship you are riding in. The waves here are violent beyond description, hurling water like a landslide down upon you in your boat. It makes no sense to travel into the deep. It is not safe. Everything you have ever learned or heard or thought was right will scream at you that you are nuts to be away from the safe harbor.

If you are tossed overboard near shore, you can swim for land. If you are tossed overboard in the deep, there is no where to go, nothing to hold on to. If someone is not there to rescue you, you will surely drown. And even if you manage to stay aboard your ship, you will experience fierce storms that those who stay near shore will never know.

You have heard the saying, “If God does not come through for me, I will surely fail.” That is the saying of a sailor who knows the deep waters.

“I am finally free

It’s only the ocean and me.”

Jack Johnson, Only The Ocean

It is in these dangerous deep waters we see God as he truly is. It is in the deep waters we learn to trust in God, for if he does not rescue us, we will surely drown. In the deep, there is no “plan B.” There is only God. But we want to make our own plans. We want to be in control of our lives and work for the outcomes we desire. In the shallows there is no danger. We can control our circumstances and conditions. If the sky darkens and the wind picks up, just sail for the pier and tie up until the skies clear. We can live by our own senses, by what we think is right. In the deep, we experience God in his rawest form, his danger and awe-fullness. He does not make sense to us in the deep. That is not the way our churches and traditions and even our reading of scripture has made him out to be. In the deep water we must abandon all we think and know to be right. We have to learn to trust God as he knows himself to be.

That is why so many cling to the shore. Trusting in God to do the impossible is a nice thing to say, but isn’t it better to trust in myself to do what I know is possible? Why cast off from a safe dock when I know the winds are blowing strong out there? Why not paint a nice Christian symbol on my boat, rig up speakers so others can hear my nice, safe Christian music, put up “No Sinning” signs on my gangplank, and rest on my oars? What is to gain in sailing into the deep?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

If by “gain” you mean what will make you richer or smarter or more popular, then there is probably little that would attract you to the deep waters. You should stay in the shallows. There are sail boats built specifically for shallow waters that can skim over the surface really fast. They look cool, and people on the shore can watch you, applaud your skills as you skip around the waters doing fancy tricks. ESPN may even show up and turn you into a shallow-water superstar. Book deals and speaking engagements will be there for your taking. No, the shallow waters offer much more “gain” in that way.

The only thing you will gain in sailing the deep waters is brokenness of your own plans and strengths, and a true understanding of what it means to “walk by faith and not by sight.” You will lose much. Lose confidence in your own abilities. Lose the assurance of being in control. But you will also lose fear of everything but the fear of God. Once you have sailed through the deeps and made it back safely, what else is there to fear?

He spoke, and the winds rose,
stirring up the waves.
Their ships were tossed to the heavens
and plunged again to the depths;
the sailors cringed in terror.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards
and were at their wits’ end.
“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.

(Psalm 107: 25-28 NLT)

Not all ships can sail into the deep. Those that are too light–just an empty hull with a mast and piece of cloth for the sail–are not strong enough to take being tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths. They would break apart in no time. And those that are too heavy, that have too much ballast or cargo, would sink beneath the heavier waves. It is the same with followers of Jesus. Those who are lightweights, empty of substance, would not withstand the pounding of the heavy seas. And those who are weighed down with the cares and thoughts of this world would sink. This is why there are seemingly few who can sail into the depths of God. His is not a tame sea. He is the all-powerful master of the wind and waves, and is not sparing to those who set sail unprepared. It is not a light thing to sail into the deep.

But once you hear the cry in your heart–the Spirit calling your spirit–how can you hang back? How could you ever again be satisfied in the shallows? Answering that call takes courage–not in yourself, for there is nothing in yourself that will allow you to survive in the storms of the deep. It takes courage to believe God is who he says he is. But O! once you have seen him in action, you will never forget that he truly is God over all. You will say with Job, I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

“In a civilized country like where I come from,” said Eustace, “the ships are so big that when you’re inside you wouldn’t even know you were at sea at all.”

“In that case you might as well say ashore,” said Caspian.

C.S. Lewis, Voyage Of The Dawn Treader

A couple of years ago we met up with other family members for a big ol’ family vacation in Florida. We spent one day taking a cruise over to the Bahamas. The ship was not one of the huge cruise ships you see in the ads, but it was big enough. Eight decks, as I recall. It was one of the most boring days I have ever had. I explored the entire ship in the first half hour we were at sea. I laid out with my kids and their cousins. I looked for things to take pictures of. I sighed and wished I had stayed behind. On the return trip, I left everyone else to do what they wanted to do and found a spot on the top deck, right in the center of the bow. I camped there for several hours, letting the wind cool me, watching the waves, looking into the distance at the far-away shore we were navigating toward. I felt a call deep in my spirit, a call into the deep things of God. For several hours, it was just the Lord and me perched on the railing looking out into the deep sea. But I was not satisfied with that cruise. I didn’t even feel like I had been on a boat.

I’m not saying I will never again take a cruise, but I really don’t have a desire to go on a boat when I can’t feel the motion of the ocean. When I was younger, I wanted to go on a Windjammer Barefoot Cruise. They had a small fleet of tall-mast sailing ships. Those on board did not just eat at endless buffets–they actually helped with the chores of sailing. You were in the open sea and would feel the waves passing under the ship. Now that sounded like a cruise I would go on. In writing this essay, I did a search for Windjammer, only to find they went out of business three years ago. There were not enough crazy people like me who wanted to ride the waves and swab the decks. There are plenty who sign up for the big cruise liners. You can eat anytime and anything you want. There is endless entertainment day and night. You get to go to fun islands where you only have to look at what the tour operators want you to look at, and you can avoid the poverty and hopelessness of the rest of the island. You have to stand in line to get on one of these cruises. The ones where you work and get seasick? Out of business.

That is the picture of our Christian culture in the West. We seek entertainment and endless goodies in safe waters. We are fat and spoiled. When the thought of trusting in someone other than ourselves strikes us, we lie down until it goes away. We want God in a nice box, thank you, one we can name and put where it is handy and convenient for us. Doing what does not make sense, well, that doesn’t make sense. Why take a nice, safe ship away from the nice, safe harbor? Why trust God when he calls us to do crazy, absurd things? No thank you. When does the next buffet open? I’m hungry.

I have heard the call. I cannot remain by the shore. I am casting off my mooring lines and preparing to sail. I honestly do not know when or if I will return. But if I do, I know one thing for sure. I will not be the same person as I am now. And that is the greatest gain I can receive.

Into The Deep

The safe waters are smooth, they do not swell or sway

The safe waters are close to shore where the violent waves are unknown

The safe waters offer calm and a false assurance that all is well

The safe waters are for those who should not have a boat in the first place


The deep waters are dangerous, far from the safety of the shore

The deep waters hide many things, many secret things that are never seen by those who abide in the shallows

The deep waters swell and shake, tossing those in the boat up and down

The deep waters can swallow man and boat whole, leaving no trace


I choose to sail into the deep waters

God is too big to live in the shallows

He stirs the deeps and raises the waves

He swirls the clouds that bring the storms

He increases the fury of the monsters of the deep who rise above the surface of the waters and strike fear into the hearts of sailors


God dwells in the deep waters

If I remain in the shallow, safe waters, I will never see the mighty hand of God

If I dwell in safety, I will never know how God will do the impossible

If I sail into the depths, I may die at sea, but God’s hand will carry me into the deep to dwell there forever with Him


I choose the impossible, the improbable, the absurd, the insane

I choose what does not make sense

I choose what is good and great

I choose the deep waters

Comments

  1. Wow! Great article. That first picture you have posted up there made me almost throw up as I imagined the waves crashing down on the boat. I loved the quote from your college picture too. Does this article mean that you are going somewhere lead by God?

    • Yes, Debbie. Both in my personal life and vocationally I feel the wind of the Spirit taking me into deep, uncharted (at least by me) waters. Places I never expected God to take me. I still think at times that the Lord only wants us to sail in “Christian” or “religious” waters, failing to realize that “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.” He owns it all, and will take us where He will.

      Yes, most definitely I am going somewhere led by God. I just don’t know where that “somewhere” is right now. But I do know who the Someone is who is doing the leading. And that is good enough.

  2. I came across this prayer by Sir Francis Drake a few months ago, and it seems appropriate to the theme you’ve shared here today:

    Disturb us, Lord, when
    We are too pleased with ourselves,
    When our dreams have come true
    Because we dreamed too little,
    When we arrived safely
    Because we sailed too close to the shore.

    Disturb us, Lord, when
    with the abundance of things we possess
    We have lost our thirst
    For the waters of life;
    Having fallen in love with life,
    We have ceased to dream of eternity
    And in our efforts to build a new earth,
    We have allowed our vision
    Of the new Heaven to dim.

    Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
    To venture on wilder seas
    Where storms will show Your mastery;
    Where losing sight of land,
    We shall find the stars.
    We ask you to push back
    The horizons of our hopes;
    And to push back the future
    In strength, courage, hope, and love.
    This we ask in the name of our Captain,
    Who is Jesus Christ.

  3. Great analogy, Jeff. Thank you. This is thought-provoking.

  4. What a lovely weaving of words from a wide variety of sources. Well crafted.

    What direction is the wind blowing; when with the tide turn to push your boat out; do you have a harbor master to guide you from your berth? Perhaps there is a bit to consider as you trim you sails. Perhaps not and all is right with elements.

    Thanks for helping me articulate why I really dislike cruse liners.

    EV

    • I agree with EV. I love the mixture of secular lyrics and sources with Biblical and Godly truth. That’s what God’s world is all about.

  5. Excellent post with much food for thought. Thank you.

  6. Godspeed, Jeff!

    And by the way, there is a big sailboat in Maine that you can help sail, help cook, etc. You sleep on it and can go out for a week or so at a time, I believe. I haven’t done it, but have read about it and people love it. You would want to make sure you are not prone to seasickness, though. It’s not so big that you don’t know you are on a boat. You will DEFINITELY know you are on a boat!

    And for all of us who feel stuck in a mundane existence…sometimes just getting up and keeping the household going one more day is an incredibly brave thing. I had a coworker tell me last week that I should just leave it all behind. Just walk away. But that would be like kicking a man who was lying bleeding in the road, believe me.

    • Jeff, there are quite a few of those schooners sailing out of Rockland, Maine, as Joanie mentioned. I just googled “windjammer cruise rockland” and several came up. If you drop anchor at Little Cranberry Island look me up.

      Some more famous quotes, both from Wind in the Willows:

      ” This has been a wonderful day!” said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. “Do you know, I’ve never been in a boat before in all my life.”

      “What?” cried the Rat, open-mouthed. “Never been in a — you never — well I — what have you been doing, then?”

      and:

      ” Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly….

      “Nice? It’s the only thing,” the Water Rat said solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily: “messing — about — in — boats.”

  7. just one christ follower says

    >>But once you hear the cry in your heart–the Spirit calling your spirit–how can you hang back? How could you ever again be satisfied in the shallows? Answering that call takes courage–not in yourself, for there is nothing in yourself that will allow you to survive in the storms of the deep. It takes courage to believe God is who he says he is. But O! once you have seen him in action, you will never forget that he truly is God over all. You will say with Job, I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

    A season of true, heart-wrenching brokeness brought me to my knees with an arm outstretched to the heavens and a cry so deep, I thought I might not ever stop. But I had only heard about God before, and through my pain and cry of real surrender, I saw him with my own eyes. I don’t know that I think of myself as courageous in this. For me, I am weak but strong, lost but found, a sinner not worthy in the least of the price my Jesus paid for me, and I despise the shallow water. My own strength and perfect little packages failed me miserably. I’ve only begun to know the real God and the Jesus not of my own making, but of the bible. Thank you for this essay, Jeff. I really do appreciate the encouragement I find here on my journey through this new life.

    • just one christ follower says

      >>The only thing you will gain in sailing the deep waters is brokenness of your own plans and strengths, and a true understanding of what it means to “walk by faith and not by sight.” You will lose much. Lose confidence in your own abilities. Lose the assurance of being in control. But you will also lose fear of everything but the fear of God.

      This, too, speaks to me. Thank you.

  8. This is a great post and offers a challenge to us all.
    My “problem” is that my life has always been lived “close to the shore”. I have lived in the same city all my life, been with the same job for 30 years, same church for 25 years, etc. I get up every morning, go to work, come home, enjoy my family, go to bed and do the same the next day. And yet, I have never felt a pull to go out into deeper waters. Do I not have “ears to hear” God, or is it maybe that my lot in life is to skim the shallows? I wonder sometimes.
    Thanks again, Chaplain Mike.

    • Thanks belong to Jeff.

      Chuck, you ask good questions, but remember, life itself is deep water, and challenges abound if we look at our daily life closely enough. For example, nothing scares people like being asked to love the neighbor next door.

      That being said, I can testify personally that stepping “out of the box” once in awhile and intentionally seeking to be in a situation where I am uncomfortable can be a wonderful spiritual discipline.

  9. Jo Ann Peterson says

    This post made me chuckle, sigh and gave me an uncomfortable feeling deep in my chest (not a heart attack!) that I should wander away from shore like I once did and experience God in a raw, powerful way. Thank you Jeff.

  10. David Cornwell says

    Jeff, thanks for this posting. It reminds me of a summer when I was 15 years old. We were subscribers to the Saturday Evening Post. I always checked out each issue. One issue started the serialization of the C. S. Forester “Horatio Hornblower” stories. These were about great adventure on the high seas and began when Hornblower was a young midshipman about my age. I became hopelessly lost in the details and in my vivid fantasy became part of it. This was a great adventure that took me far from home into another world so very different from my own. Later in life, when I had some time to read, I returned again to Hornblower and they still retained their hold.

    There is something within us that calls us out into the unknown, the deep and dangerous seas.

  11. Lisa Dye says

    “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” (Psalm 42:7) He does call us to deep waters sometimes, doesn’t He? Yet, all the waters we sail in and which sweep over us belong to Him. Thank you for this post Jeff.

  12. Psalm 107:23-31:
    23: They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
    24: These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
    25: For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
    26: They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
    27: They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
    28: Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
    29: He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
    30: Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
    31: Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

  13. Thanks for the article. I believe that there still are sailing ships that one can go one for a few days or longer as part of the “crew”. I looked for them a couple of years ago.

    From my own life, I have have also sought the depths. Perhaps in some minds I have been there as well. (leaving good paying jobs for seminary twice, for example.) For now, however, I clearly see that God has placed me exactly where I am – involved (heavily) in our church teaching and leading, and teaching in a local middle school. To others it may seem that I’m in the safe harbor – (perhaps I am), but I know that this is where I should be. Every time I try and do something else, I end up back here!

    So, if God has placed you in the harbor, then be a good tug boat! Or whatever the analogy might be. God wants some people in the ship yards as well. By all means test the boundaries to see if God wants you to go into the deep waters. But if he keeps you in the shallows, then do his purposes there, whatever they might be. And don’t beat yourself up searching for something that he doesn’t want you to do.

    On another tack – are there ways of living in the depths with the challenge that you mention, while staying in the harbor of American life where I am, and where many of the other readers may be as well? Again, not to say that I want my cake and to eat it too, but I am convinced that this is where I am to be. How can I find the depths here?

    thanks again for the article, happy sailing!

  14. This post was fabulous. Throughout my Christian life God has often used nautical illustrations to spur me on. Today I am considering a change in career that could take me into some very deep water and this is the inspiration I needed.

    I have been in some dangerous seas but it’s there that you learn to sail. You mught get sea sick, wet and battered but it’s alot more exciting than the shore and thats is where God is anyway.

  15. Jonathan M says

    Thanks. This post was exactly what I needed today. Over the past 4 years, I have moved about 15,000 miles total, several different moves, but I still feel that God is calling me to get out of the harbor and set sail. I am going to print this article.

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Something I remember about Deep Waters:

    If a storm or hurricane strikes, an ocean-going ship’s best chance for survival is to get clear of the shore and head out into Deep Water. Land is your enemy — in deep water you can ride out the storm; near land there’s too much chance of the hurricane winds or storm surge driving you into the shore.

  17. Bravo, Jeff!!!! This is such a great article. It really speaks to me personally. I am, by nature, a creature of safety. Just this past Sunday I was singing the words to “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” and it struck me that my chains are NOT gone. I feel I am still chained, and my chains are chains of fear. Even with God and Jesus in my life, I’ve not been set free of fear. (This specifically relates to a ministry I feel called to start, but which scares the heck out of me for a variety of reasons.)

    I was sharing this with a pastor friend of mine the day after service, that I’m ready to free myself of the chains and be set free of my fear. The whole idea of this article, the thought that “I’m a ship that can remain safe in harbor, but that’s not why ships are built,” hits the spot. What a blessing to me personally! That may just become my new “mantra.” (Along with scripture…LOL.)

    God Bless you for writing this, Jeff.

    • Rick, you may also want to check out Joe Spann’s word about following our dangerous God (https://internetmonk.com/archive/our-dangerous-god). He says that God wants to “set us free from the chains we have become too comfortable with.” I have had those chains on me for a long time as well…and being free from them is at first very frightening. It seems freedom starts with fear…

      • Rick Ro. says

        Jeff, I’m not sure if you are a Delirious? fan, but they recently penned a song called Kingdom of Comfort in which one of the repeated lines is:

        “Save me save me
        From the kingdom of comfort where I am king
        From my unhealthy lust of material things”

        It takes quite a bit of courage to ask to be saved from our kingdom of comfort, does it not? Delirious is a great Christian group, by the way. And their last album, also called Kingdom of Comfort, is loaded with great songs.

        • Jeff Dunn says

          I have followed them for some time–they are creative and gifted. I will be writing about this topic–the unhealthy lust of material things–soon. Thanks!

  18. Wonderful post, Jeff. Thank you! Is that last part, “The Deep” something you wrote??

    For my self, I have come to see there are deep waters within our very selves that God invites us to enter. Regardless of our daily situation in life, how commonplace and routine it may be, if we truly surrender to the Ocean of God’s transforming Love we will find ourselves on an inner journey very much akin to a journey at sea. We will have to face our weathered and torn sail and accept the wrong turns we made with it. We will have to acknowledge our slippery and slimy deck caused by the messes of human life and that we have been broken many times struggling to walk on it. We will have to see and admit our hull has been beaten, battered and badly damaged from the waves of life an no longer able to stay afloat. Humbly accepting the courage to see and accepts all these truths about ourselves; that we cannot mend our broken sail, nor clean up and restore our slimy deck, nor repair and renew our damaged hull, but, humbly surrender ourselves to this Ocean of God’s Mercy and Love. At this point the inner transformation of ourselves into the image of Jesus begins. Then, even out in the deep waters we can experience moments of incredible beauty and peace. When one storm ends, and the waters are still, the sun’s glowing reflection reminds us that we are not alone and we experience the loving presence of our God.

    • Very well put, Daisey. And yes, I wrote Into The Deep. My humble attempt at poetry…

      • A humble attempt….I would say, embrace your gift, Jeff ! Write more!
        Your poem is rich with truth about the human experience and beautifully put!

  19. Eleven years ago next week, I went to sleep with my ship tied securely in the harbor. When I next awoke, it was almost a year later, and I was adrift near a mysterious island. Medically, scientifically, I don’t know what happened. But spiritually, I am quite sure that God is the one who unmoored my ship and blew it out to sea. I didn’t really know anything about sailing back then, and I knew less about God! Over time I have learned a lot about both, though I have never made it back to the harbor. My current always leads another way. Sometimes, though, I get to meet people from the harbor. They look at my beaten up ship and injuries and fierce joy and see an alien, a stranger. I try to relate the things I have experienced, the wonders I have seen, and the greatness of our God, but I get a lot of blank stares. Then they mutter something about me having a lot of faith or being an inspiration and then sail full speed back to harbor. It gets lonely sometimes.

  20. These are the thoughts of dangerous Christians who are tired of safe and “right” answers. It is tempting to do things the way they have been done so that we don’t rock the boat (pun intended, Jim). Right now I have a “safe” ministry and a “dangerous” one along-side it… I have found that without doing what I was built to do I choke, tire, and start to die a little each day.

    I hope your waters are deep, dangerous, exciting, and exactly what you are built for.

  21. while I was reading your post —the song ‘Lord, you have come to the lakeshore’ came to my mind

    “Lord, you have come to the lakeshore looking neither for wealthy nor wise ones. You only asked me to follow humbly. O Lord, with your eyes you have searched me, kindly smiling, have spoken my name. Now my boat’s left on the shoreline behind me; by your side I will seek other seas.
    You know so well my possessions; my boat carries no gold and no weapons; But nets and fishes — my daily labor. You need my hands, full of caring, through my labors to give others rest, and constant love that keeps on loving. You, who have fished other oceans ever longed-for by souls who are waiting, my loving friend, as thus you call me.”
    it speaks to the call of the Lord & our need to follow him – a beautiful spanish song
    peace

  22. Jeff, the highest compliment I can pay you is that this post reminds me more of Michael Spencer (and how I looked forward to reading him!) than anything since his passing.

  23. “The only thing you will gain in sailing the deep waters is brokenness of your own plans and strengths, and a true understanding of what it means to “walk by faith and not by sight.”

    I think this is key.

    I often reflect on the old kid’s story, “Scuffy”. the toy tugboat who was meant for greater things, who longs to leave the little bathtub to sail to the ocean. At the end of the story, when he actually reaches the sea, which has no beginninng or end, he longs to be back in the safety of the bathtub.

    I think we’re a lot like that. We long for the depths of God, but our humanity is overwhelmed – like Moses or Isaiah before the glory of God.

    In a nutshell, sailing the depths is impossible without the Incarnation – the infinite taking on our finitude. As I have quoted many times from “Mr. Blue”: the incarnation saves from the burden of the infinite.

    But I think it is still another side to the dangerous nature of grace: God dangerously and recklessly bestows his grace on the undeserving, but that same grace calls them out onto the waves.

  24. “It is in these dangerous deep waters we see God as he truly is. It is in the deep waters we learn to trust in God, for if he does not rescue us, we will surely drown. In the deep, there is no “plan B.” There is only God.”

    These are timely words for me today. As I contemplate the direction this country is going and the times ahead, it is becoming clearer and clearer that there is, indeed, no plan B. There is only God.

  25. Roy Rogers says

    Sometimes you just have to tell people to kiss it, you’ve bought a boat and you’re sailing out to sea.

  26. I am unofficially renaming this post, “What I Needed To Read Today”. I understand a little bit about calling, but it wasn’t until I read this that I had a clear idea of into what I was being called. Thank you.