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On Sailing and Solid Ground

This year, Jesus invited me to sail with Him. Last year, we always met on the beach. But now, it’s time to get in the boat. So when I go to Him in prayer using my Christian imagination, we’re sailing on the sea.

The wooden boat we’re in is masterfully crafted—smooth, with just enough creak to be homey. The water surrounding us is deep but bright, salty but fresh. We witness artistic sunrises and fish silhouettes against the blazing sunsets.

And I absolutely hate it.

I can’t enjoy the miraculous beauty around me because I’m frozen in discomfort and worry.

What about the sharks?! Why aren’t there any supplies in this boat? How will we eat? What about the towering waves? I haven’t seen land in months, and I’m desperate for solid ground.

Then, the answer to my fretful questions becomes as clear as the water beneath me. He is my solid ground. Jesus remains present and steady amidst the swirling waters and my swirling heart.

The shallowness of my trust is evident in these deep waters. I trust God willingly with certain matters, but not the most important ones. I’m afraid that if I trust Him more completely, things won’t work out as I plan. I’m afraid that if I let go of control, no one will take the reins. I’m afraid of being abandoned. I’m simply afraid.

Today’s Gospel addresses such fear. As rhythmic as the crashing waves, Jesus repeats to His Apostles, “Do not be afraid.”

But how? Blessedly, the First Reading gives an example of the faith that combats this fear. Joseph, addressing the future, offers us this anchor: “When God thus takes care of you . . . .”

Not if, when. Joseph places his full confidence in the fulfillment of God’s plans and promises. He doesn’t question God’s provision. He knows he will be cared for in every moment.

Joseph would be loving my boat ride.

If you’re afraid of entrusting your life to the Lord, you’re not alone. But thankfully, there is nothing to fear. God will thus take care of us. So let’s go sailing.

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For an in-depth biography of Saint Ignatius of Loyola whose writing on spiritual exercises has had a profound impact on the Jesuit order and many others, read here.

Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where the sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and works from home as an editor and social media manager. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. She is a contributing author to our children’s devotional prayer book, Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Stephanie McCutcheon
    July 13, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for this reminder, Olivia. Being a recovering control freak, I can relate to this! Every time I think, “I’ve got this!” God rocks the boat on me, so I will remember that HE’S in charge, not me. Then, I relax and it’s smooth sailing. God bless!

  • Reply
    Sara
    July 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Love this! The anxiety you expressed reminded me of Martha. I used to want to control and prepare for everything but now I’m more than happy to let God take the reigns. We all still get anxious from time to time but this is a beautiful reminder we’re never alone. Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Mary-Anne
    July 13, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection! The waters have been crazy in my life the past few years, and it just got worse lately and I’m having to fully and completely trust in Him now. He is holding us and takes care of us! A wonderful reminder- this gave me a wave of peace!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    July 13, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    I can sooooo relate! I pray daily for 100% trust in God. Life would be so much easier if I could do it. But so far I haven’t succeeded. Thankful for the many devotions and books I’ve read to help me get there. Someday…..

  • Reply
    Lorena
    July 16, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Beautiful! Very relatable! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Laura
    July 16, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    This is such a lovely reflection! Thanks!

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