Swimming, in theory, should come naturally, once one masters the techniques. Supposedly, once one learns to swim, kinetic memory ensures those skills can be summoned whenever necessary at any point in the future. However, swimming in a pool is quite another matter from swimming in a turbulent sea! Similarly, paddling a canoe on a still lake is far less challenging than steering that same canoe through river rapids in a steep canyon!
Although we like to think of our life with Jesus as a place of safety, experience has taught us that it occasionally feels undeniably risky! Instead of feeling snug and safe with Him in the boat (NOTE: HE was sleeping, but the disciples definitely were not in any state resembling repose!), we lurch about on the turbulent seas of life as we desperately cling to our fragile rafts. The waves crash over us, we are wet to the bone, and we wonder where our Prince of Peace might have hidden Himself!
Usually at some point in the midst of such storms, I remember that our Messiah subjected Himself to every sin, temptation, test, and storm imaginable during His life on earth in a human body. He endured pain, sorrow, grief, and trauma far beyond what any of us could possibly have endured — and through each ordeal, He maintained a righteous attitude of heart without flagging. If we are to reflect Jesus in this life, our cruise season on Earth with our Lord will not be merely still waters, nor are our vessels built with high, protective walls to shield us from every ripple in the sea of life. Instead, we are awarded a wooden raft — a cross — to which we must cling for survival. It may not FEEL safe, but He is with us on it; in fact, He was nailed to it on our behalf and can still save us through any circumstance life brings us. Although He never promised to shield us from getting wet, or from feeling the wind on our faces, or from being bent over and clinging to that wood just to survive, He is faithful to be present with us in every situation. Even when we are unaware of His nearness, He is with us; He guarantees He will save us THROUGH this stormy life, even though He does not always rescue us FROM it or from every painful or challenging circumstance.
Father, thank You for providing the wooden raft of Your cross for me. It is far more powerful than it sometimes seems in my more desperate moments! Thank You that Your cross HOLDS through every storm and can carry me to the other side of every challenge. Thank You that You are victorious when I cannot be; You are more than enough to compensate for all my weaknesses and inadequacies. The place on that raft — Your cross — may seem risky for me, but it purchased my safety and assures me of Your Presence in me! When the salt spray is in my mouth and the wind stings my eyes, help me to remember that You did this before me and will never abandon me.