“Imagine a sail, full and bright, pulling each boat with all the power of the wind. The oars are gone, along with sore arms and aching backs. Instead, the boaters are learning how to catch the wind and give up the work of forward movement to something much more powerful than they could ever be. And movement it is! Waves pour off each bow and the wake they leave behind churns with foamy water. It’s actually fun!”
My heart was deeply stirred this morning as I re-read this paragraph from Forming: A Work of Grace. This journey toward God has been so full and so redemptive, and so life changing — I sometimes have to pinch myself to see if this is real. I can remember what it was like, trying desperately to row. During my last 10 years of dedicated rowing it felt like my rowboat was stuck in mud, and no matter how hard I tried to pry the boat loose, it never moved. Just thinking about those days makes my heart grieve.
When I look forward now, I cannot even see the land for which I am destined. It is a long way off. But when I look back, there are so many cares and wounds and sorrows that we have left behind! I feel so much lighter than I ever thought possible. And from time to time I feel the boat lurch forward as we drop off another heavy weight. I so love our God, who is so good and has given such gifts to us and who is the wind all around us!
Oh, yes, I still sometimes roll up the sail for no good reason, or turn the boat in a way that makes the sails droop and everything stop. I even pick up the oars and see how well I can do. But then I feel the wind blowing around me, and I long to see the water churning past the bow. So (sometimes with the help of others) I ask my God how we can realign the sail to get moving again. And He is always faithful.
And we begin to sail once again.