When I was a little girl, our family had a small speedboat. We only lived a few miles from the Catawba River and on weekends – or even especially pretty weekdays – dad would load us up and take us out on the river. We had a nice, sandy spot that we enjoyed setting up camp for the day. A fire would be built, hot dogs and marshmallows would be roasted, skiers would be towed, everyone would splash and play in the water and a good day would be had by all!
I remember one day in particular, though, that didn’t go quite as planned. Sometime during the course of the day, dad noticed a dark cloud that had begun to shadow the edge of the sky. He determined it would be best if we head back to our car. As we were in the middle of the water, on our way back, the storm hit. Big, fat raindrops slashed through the air, biting at our bare skin. I was wrestled into a life jacket and ordered to the floor. Mom stayed at the back of the boat with me, covering me with a towel. And dad piloted us in. Thankfully, we arrived back at the dock safely, but the truth is that it could have gone a different way. And, it had me thinking about the storm we’ve been enduring.
If you read here regularly, you know that the family and I have been battling a long, steady stream of storms. When the economy faltered, it took our personal economy right with it. Ours hasn’t really recovered. Add to that bad grades and health problems and we’ve had the perfect storm! It’s hard not to feel sorry for myself or to beat myself up with “could’ve/would’ve/should’ve’s” but neither approach is healthy or helpful. Today, as I was thinking over the last few years and pondering our lives right now, it occurred to me that it would seem that God is speaking peace into our storm and I am thankful! It looks as if we are finally going to be able to “right our ship.”
Out of curiosity, I googled “boating accident causes.” There were ten listed. Of course, the usual culprits were there – inattentive operator, alcohol consumption, poor boat maintenance. But, then, there were three that weren’t controllable – weather, hazardous waters, force of wave or wake. Those can’t really be helped – only avoided and that’s not always possible.
I have a really bad habit of beating myself up for poor choices or mistakes or landing where I didn’t intend to land in life. Yet, I am human. I’m able to overlook those flaws in others. And I truly believe what the Word says – God works ALL things to the good of those who love him and who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28). But, I tend to have trouble forgiving myself.
And somehow, that’s how I ended up thinking about boats and storms and accidents. It’s so easy, when things go wrong, to second guess every decision you’ve made along the way. When a boat gets caught in a storm, it’s common afterwards to have all the mistakes pointed out. But, the truth is that, most of the time, stuff just happens. Storms hit. Rocks get in the way. Other people’s actions cause you hardship. Even if you think you’re doing everything right, sometimes it’s just not enough.
In the same way, it’s easy to look at my life and see my missteps and stumbles and to see myself as a failure. But, the truth is that I have done my best to be obedient, follow God’s leading and make decisions accordingly. And He has taken my steps – even the wrong ones – and used them to lead me to where He wants me to be.
If my master was money, I have failed completely. I didn’t make decisions based on my finances. I have followed God on an extraordinary path that couldn’t have been achieved had I been focused on the all-mighty dollar. And, I realized today that I’m really not sorry about that. Not at all. Yes, I would’ve had more money if I had chosen the other path. I think, though, I’d rather have what I have – the absolute knowledge that God’s Word is true, His promises still stand, He is all I need. I would have more financial security (maybe), more worldly goods (probably), but I would have missed out on the most amazing security of all – God’s grace and love and provision.
I would’ve missed out on God, Himself.
Looks like I made the right choices, after all.
So, what now? Well, I’ll do my best (with God’s help) to right my ship and keep sailing His course. He hasn’t let me down yet!
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.