Holding Course


Compass Study
(Photo credit: Calsidyrout they soon forgot what [God] had done
But they soon forgot what [God] had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

Psalm 106:13 (NIV)

Years ago I enjoyed the adventure of sailing across Lake Superior at night in a storm. By the time my partner and I took our shift at the helm we were far from the sight of land. With the storm pouring rain and wind over us, even the stars and moon were cloaked from view. I could not see the direction of the next wave that would buffet our boat. I could see nothing but the light of compass that sat just in front of the wheel as I held the ship’s course. Having been given the correct compass heading by our captain, I constantly fought to keep the ship headed in the right direction. We sailed through the blackness and I had to trust that if I maintained the proper course we would reach our destination safely.

Over time I have come to learn that there is an unveiling of the path as you progress in life’s journey. God’s message is spoken of as a foot lamp. It give us enough light for the next step on our current path, but we cannot see where the path is leading nor what is coming on the horizon. Like the compass on our night crossing of Superior, we often find ourselves making our way through darkness with nothing more than a compass heading.

There is no comprehensive map for life, though we may try to divine what will happen tomorrow or next year in all sorts of ways that range from the silly, to the spiritually unhealthy and delusional. Those who follow Jesus are on a faith journey and the point is not knowing but believing. The captain has given us a compass heading and our job is to hold course through the dark of night and through the wind and waves which constantly threaten to push us off course.

Sometimes we, like the people of Israel referenced in today’s psalm, get impatient for the plan to unfold and start setting our own course. My experience is that when we do this we tend to find ourselves lost at sea. Today, I’m acknowledging the reality that I have no idea what lies ahead. I can’t see beyond the bow of the boat most days let alone what’s coming up on the horizon. God’s message is my compass heading, and my Captain has assured me that if I hold course I will ultimately find myself safely in harbor.

8 thoughts on “Holding Course”

  1. Great post. We live by faith everyday; a lot of what is put in our path is unplanned by us, but planned by God.

    “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

    –William Shedd

  2. That’s where I am right now….trying not to chart my own course but just letting Him be the guide for what’s next. It’s scary. I laughed a little at your comment ” I ENJOYED the adventure of sailing across Lake Superior at night in a storm.”

    1. Thanks for the comment Chrystal. And, well, I will admit that I DID enjoy it. Part of it was the “Wild at Heart” part of me and God gave me a bit of a sailor’s heart as a kid growing up in land-locked Iowa (my mother would tell you stories of the sailor hat I wore all the time as a boy – even to bed). So, it was kind of my one chance to experience a sail like that. God sure gave me an adventure to learn from and to share!

  3. 4Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people;
    come near and rescue me.

    I’ve been a Christ follower for nearly 30 years, yet every year I learn something about my relationship with Christ. The last few months I have been learning about asking God for things. When I was young, I would ask for things that today seem trivial. I would ask God for a certain girl to date, I would ask for a specific toy or milestone in life. They weren’t trivial at the time. When I was in my mid-20s I would ask God for the right job, or success at my job. In my 30s I would ask God for success for my kids (still ask this one), a positive influence on another young person, etc. None of these things are bad, and I will continue to ask for some of them long into life. What I have been learning about lately though, is asking God for depth of relationship with Him. It’s a little scary to ask God to reveal Himself to us more and more, but what I am learning is that if we ask He will do it. It looks different to everyone, but if you want to try it, pray Scripture, Scripture that asks God for depth or favor like today’s verse. It is amazing what God will reveal if you just ask Him.

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