I am not and have never been a seafaring person. Maybe that’s because I was born in the Midwest, a distance from the ocean coastland, or maybe it is because I feared the water growing up and never learned to swim.
One of my big adventures a few summers ago was to go with our son and his family on a pontoon boat on a lake for a day’s outing. They were able to borrow a jet ski for the day and our two adult grandchildren as well as our son and his wife were eager for the fast-paced fun that it would add to the afternoon.
I really had no interest in adding that experience that day for more than one or two reasons, BUT some of you know that grandchildren can often cause us to set aside our “usual” selves and step out of our comfort zone. So, it happened that our grandson whose heart is tender as can be persuaded me to ride with him with promises not to go as fast as he and the others had gone.
I really was anxious about it, but his kind words, expression, and heart made me step out of the pontoon boat onto the rocking jet ski. My husband was shocked, and I kept saying to myself, “What are you thinking? Do you realize how old you are? Do you remember you can’t swim? Don’t you remember how a boyfriend persuaded you to try to water ski and said you would be safe because you wore a life vest and then forgot to tell you how to do it or to let go of the rope?”
The lake was not stormy that day and I so glad I decided to risk it, knowing I would regret it later if I had not.
Even so, boats often don’t feel very safe to us and less so when we are in them in the midst of a storm.
We are living in a stormy time and as I reflected on that I recalled a very special woman I was blessed to know more than 20 years ago.
Linda had come to my professional clinical counseling practice for me to walk through the months ahead of what she knew would be her death as a result of a terminal illness. The time we spent together was a precious one and I think I benefitted more than she did perhaps. Her heart was stalwart as she faced what lay ahead, but she was never phony about the pain and fear she was living through. Her faith was not flimsy and could carry her through the truth of what she was facing and would face.
When her days on this earth came to an end, her funeral service was a most celebratory occasion and included a video she had made when she was still able to go to one of her beloved parks. The final scene was of her swinging on a swing, smiling, and waving goodbye to us.
It was after the service that I received a treasured gift that I still look at from time to time – her journal from some of the last months of her life.
As I thought about the stormy time we are in, I recalled one specific entry she had made in her journal:
“Storms and boats! Ever been in a storm?
The waves are crashing, lightning is flashing; the boat is rocking!
Well, we aren’t!
Jesus has promised to be in the boat with us!
He’s promised to bring calm to the waves.
At times though, I sure feel alone!
But God’s promised – He’d never leave us; never forsake us! (Heb. 13:5)
Jesus has promised to calm our storms! (Mt. 8:26)
We think He’s not even in our boat – yet He’s there…
We try to “calm” our boat!
Have you ever stood up in a boat?
Just our standing up makes us rock the boat all the more!
Yet, if we wait and trust in Jesus – He is sure to calm our storm, steady our boat and keep us from drowning!
Jesus has even promised to be “our anchor” in our storm (Heb. 6:19).
An anchor works best in a storm. It is our safety line in our seas of turmoil and crashing waves, it’s our footing on shaky ground – our lifeline!
Our lifeline to Father God!
Are you struggling in your storm?
Well, put out your anchor in the storm, and hold on!
Our storms won’t last forever…God’s promised!”
She was right! She left the storm to perfect rest with the Lord February 11, 1999, but she left me the gift of her powerful words in her last journal.
Today I want to share that gift with you as you travel through the storm.
Thanks, Linda. If you could see how I am sharing this I know you would smile.