6 Lessons from the Sea

Over the last few months, after the blessings of a lifetime of good health, I’ve had a run of unexpected physical health issues, that have had me visiting a plethora of hospital departments. Thankfully, none of them so far have been life threatening, but it has unnerved me, and at times I have felt in the midst of a circling, stormy fog of grey, further exaggerated by the severe seasonal storms we have been having lately, across the country. My experiences have made me think...

stormy sea on rocks


Unlike our ever-improving meteorological weather forecasting, the storms of life often come when we are least expecting them, and we may feel completely unprepared for the demands that they make upon us. So, what keeps us safe, when turbulent tempests roar unwelcome, into our lives?
It seems to me that as in the case of a real storm at sea, preparation may be the key...


1. Put on a life jacket
Life jackets can keep us buoyant if we fall into a raging sea, so what is our spiritual equivalent? As Christians we are told to  “Put on the full armour of God...”

Are we wearing the armour of God, a spiritual life-jacket, that will stand us in good stead to deal with any storm we encounter in our lives?

"Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out." (Ephesians 6:10-18, The Message)

2. Slow Down
In a squally gale, boats must slow down and tack the stormy waves at an angle if they are to survive any storms. For us, too, we cannot expect to continue at the same speed of life we were living before any sort of traumatic event in our lives. Instead, slowing down, allows us time to think and perhaps approach the problem from a different angle in order to survive the ferocity of the storm.

3. Contact the Coastguard
Vessels at sea, whether they are in a mayday situation or not, keep in constant radio and satellite contact with the coastguard. As Christians, we can ensure that we are in constant conversation with our Heavenly Father through regular prayer - both in calm times and through the storms of life.
Having a support network too, of friends or family that we can call upon when we are struggling can also help enormously when we are going through difficulties. Being isolated in a storm is a lonely place to be. We are made to support each other, and help one another both in tempestuous times, and in seas of calm.

small boat moored in harbour4. Head for Harbour
In a storm, a boat may have to head for an unfamiliar harbour for safety- better to be far from home and safe, than at the mercy of the elements at the height of a storm. So, I wonder where we might find unexpected harbour in the face of a storm? In recent floods, many have found unexpected sanctuary in community halls, strangers’ homes, in working side by side with neighbours caught in the same storms. It is probably not where we would choose to be; not home...yet a welcome, safe harbour from cruel storms that strip away our familiar refuge. So, where might we head for harbour in a crisis? Where might we find unexpected but welcome sanctuary?

5. Riding the Waves
Despite the danger and fear, surfers enjoy the thrill of riding the crest of large and dangerous waves, trusting the buoyancy of their surfboard. Similarly, amidst the height of life’s storms, sometimes all we can do is to hold on tight, knowing God is with us in these worst of times, trusting Him through the fear and pain, that somehow he will provide us with the strength to remain buoyant., and have faith that if we succumb to the waves and sink, he will reach down and rescue us.

6. The Eye of the Storm
My textile piece this month, depicts some of this thinking...
The tiny battered boat is amidst a raging sea yet held in the relative calm of the eye of the storm. Whatever storms you may be going through in your life right now, I pray that the grace of God will surround, encircle and protect you, and that his love will embrace and pilot you to safe harbour.
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"The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm." (Luke 8:24)




"He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed." (Psalm 107:29)

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