Daily Bread Oct. 11

The Sea Is So Big, My Boat Is So Small
By Terry Brown of Pigeon, MI, USA

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. —John 3:8 NRSV

The day was calm as we set sail for Charity Island in the little ten-foot sailboat. In fact, it was too calm.

The breeze was too light to push the fog off the lake. Jim and I crowded into the tiny craft and sat one at each end, just inches away from the water. Using our pocket compass, we took aim at the spot where we remembered the island should be and set sail.

About an hour into the trip, sailors from much larger boats than ours came alongside. They were competing in a race and asked us for directions to the harbor, since the fog still had not lifted. We proudly pulled out our handheld compass and pointed the direction. We laughed later that sailors with enough experience to be in an official race would ask us for help.

The wind picked up, and we made the nearly ten-mile trip to the island without incident. Confident, we leisurely ate our lunch. However, when we got back in the boat for the return trip, the wind stopped blowing. We sat still for hours. It was so calm we got out and tried pushing the boat while we swam toward the mainland, but gave up when the water bugs started passing us.

It wasn’t until evening when the wind picked up we knew we were in trouble. While we sat in the boat, the adhesive seals in the foam-filled core of our tiny vessel had allowed water to fill the cavity. As the wind began to howl and the seas filled with white caps, we found we were no longer in control. Steering was useless. Trimming the sail was no help. We could go only one direction which would take us past the point of land for which we were aiming. Instead of a few miles, we might have been heading for the Canadian shore, a hundred miles away.

Fortunately, we were able to catch the tip of Oak Point, miles from where we started. It was likely the last chance for us to pull the boat ashore instead of spending the night at sea.

Life can be like that. Sometimes we head out in the fog unprepared without a clear picture of our destination. The calm times are rarely appreciated until we are faced with seas that are not so predictable and gracious.

On this day, God became our copilot. We realized there was a power greater than us at work. We needed to align our purpose with the sea’s Creator.

Prayer for Peace

Lord, help us find direction in life’s rough seas. With Christ as our compass, we will work for peace and align our mission with what matters most.

Spiritual Practice

Find a comfortable spot outside. As you meditate, let the sounds of nature overtake the noise of the world. Feel the wind as it touches your arms. Notice as the spirit breathes gentle words to you. Imagine trimming your sail to align with God’s purpose in your life.  —Terry Brown

Peace Covenant

Today, God, I will try to provide direction for one who drifts dangerously without a compass.

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