A boat, a ship, and a storm

A recent long weekend at the beach brought rich metaphors to the surface like glowing tips on the ocean's waves. Here is the first of three I will be sharing. 

There’s a storm off-shore. Full, gray clouds are releasing streaks of rain into the ocean. The thunder in the distance doesn’t give me concern. Its low rumbling and the crashing waves bring a familiar comfort. I close my eyes and enjoy the breeze that only exists at the beach. My hearing is more keen as I hear a plane in the distance, a sliding door closing, and some over-sized insect buzzing my head. 

Opening my eyes I see two boats- correction one boat and one ship. My friend, Kymberlee, shares how her husband, Eric explained the difference, “A ship can carry boats!”

The recreational fishing boat has paused outside the storm while a cargo ship is forging ahead into the storm. The cargo ship passes the boat heading into the storm. Out of the corner of my eye I see another ship coming from the opposite direction. It too is creating a white-wave wake and heading for the storm with abandon- no brakes-no pause-onward-forward. 

A bright flash of lightning splits the space between the ships and before too long they pass each other like two friends passing in an office hallway. The fishing boat, still paused outside the storm, greets the ship that has just come through the storm. If ships could talk I bet this one would say, “I made it through! You can too!’ The boat would spit back honest excuses, “That’s easy for you to say- you’re a ship!” From my point of view on shore, I can see the scope of the storm- beginning and end- the sunshine on the other side. But the timid boat doesn’t have my perspective.

I understand the boat’s apprehension. I understand the boat’s justification, “I don’t haveto go into the storm. After all, I’m just here for recreation- for pleasure.”

The ships are without that luxury. They are carrying valuable cargo. They have scheduled deliveries. Perhaps thousands of people are waiting and in need of what they are carrying. As this scene played out in front of me, I saw a picture of faith. 

Our faith is not a fishing boat. Our faith should be a cargo ship. 

God calls us into the storms and He equips us for them. His Word and Spirit are our navigation. 

People need Christ- the precious cargo we are tasked to carry- to deliver.

There are deadlines. Persevering through storms matters.

As I finish writing these thoughts, I look up to see the fishing boat still outside the storm, but another watercraft, smaller than the fishing boat is kicking up quite a wake. Whatever it is, it is heading full throttle into the storm. Oh, wow… as I strain to see I realize, it’s a jet ski. Rock on, Mr. Thrill-Seeker. 

Romans 10: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 

When it comes to my faith I want to be a ship- carrying the cargo of good news, compassion, rescue, transformation, and joy. Steered by the Holy Spirit, I will enter the storms. I will not drop anchor on the outskirts, content with recreation of faith. And although I may come out the other side a bit weathered and tossed about, I will come through. How about you?

PS if you zoom in enough to the picture you can see the first ship and the small fishing boat!