Traveling with Jesus Makes Me Seasick

Wow.
I get it now.
Ever have a moment like that?
Just, wow.
For years,
more than I care to number
I’ve encountered wave after wave after relentless wave of trial.
Ironically, writers are advised to do that to our main characters,
“make them suffer,”
“when things are bad, make them worse,”
“increase the conflict”
“ratchet up the tension and the suspense”
“allow them to fail their way to success”
Every reader knows this makes for a better story.
Every human knows this makes for an exhausting life –
what character opts for a better story
when the riptides of adversity
too often lead to
depression,
exhaustion,
desperation,
despair,
loss of mind
and heart?
I cried out
again and again
against the storm.
And sometimes I was spiritual
and other times I was not
And sometimes I had faith
and other times, I curled into the fetal position
and planned ways to end it all.
I asked, “why.”
Of course, I asked why.
Not in front of people
but alone on my knees.
“Is it something I’ve done?”
I repented over things
I didn’t even do,
and repeatedly over things I did,
things I should have done,
could have done better,
which decision was it
that sent me spiraling into this Odyssean wormhole?
Is there some special prayer,
an “open sesame” combination of phrases, Bible verses, or liturgies
that reverses the trend,
that releases the blessing,
that opens the door,
that moves your hand to
stop the crazy spinning helm,
the everyday vertigo
of being me?
But there are no Christian incantations
and God isn’t an idol to be flattered,
a genie to be conjured,
or a cipher to be
decoded like an Indiana Jones movie
and my spirit knew this
because I’ve met Him.
so it flailed on the deck of the ship in the storm
and heaved over the side
and endured the beating sun,
the rolling waves,
the clouds blocking the only source of navigation
and the unknown outcome
of trusting the future to God.
I watched as others seemed to have a measure of peace
of security
of victory
of calm seas and fair winds
of cruise ships and full sails
of buffets, entertainment, and day trips to the shore
while my allotment
was ladled out in splattering scoops
like sips of water
rationed to prisoners on a galley ship
rowing
rowing
and, during this time,
I developed an intense aversion to manna.
If someone preached on manna,
I left the room.
If a devotional was about manna,
I skipped ahead.
I didn’t want grace for the day
I didn’t want bread enough for now
I didn’t want strength for the moment!
I wanted a diversified grace portfolio
that would allow me to retire on grace at any time
of my choosing;
a bank account full of provision
so I could live off the interest;
bona fide security that came from earning enough blessing that I was assured
calm seas and shining stars for miles and months and millenniums.
I didn’t want to be along for the ride,
I wanted to own this ship,
direct its course
and hire weathermen to dictate the freaking weather
at least, that’s what I screamed into the wind
as I lay drenched on the deck of the rolling barge.
And when God whispered to me
lying ragged and worn on that tossing deck
to trust His goodness
His love
His plan for me –
the hope of that was sometimes like a stale salt cracker
and I felt internal waves competing
with the assault of the sea
waves of self-pity,
bitterness,
temptation to doubt,
to fear,
to abandon ship
and hope for a passing whale.
But today
the wind blew in the truth
like an albatross
and as I watched it glide through the air
and land beside me on deck
I suddenly recognized the blessing
of my training at sea and
the kindness of God
that He never allowed me the illusion
that I could bank grace
and I stood up for a moment on the deck
utilizing muscles that had developed by my
clinging on so hard
and felt a new confidence;
not in the sun or the soundness of the ship or in a hopeful breeze
but confidence in Him
the One who is outside me
and within me
and around me
the One who is able
because I never am
even when I feel like the Captain of the my Soul.
He knew
that a steady diet of manna,
even force-fed,
is the prescription
for self-righteousness
which is no righteousness at all
and He knew
that if He removed all other resources
I would hunger and thirst
after the real thing
only available through Him
and only provided in each day, each moment, each breath
but promised for eternity.
Manna.
It is a holy word
Sacred now
God provides.
What is it?
Grace.
Wow.
The waves still crash over my bow,
I still lie on the sodden boards
but
the nausea has passed,
I have my sea legs
and hope no longer feels like a weight I cannot bear
now it is my anchor.

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5 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Cyn Rogalski says:

    Yes, no manna, sick of the manna….and then I look at the sandals on my feet, that haven’t worn out in 50+ years…and I take them off because I am indeed standing on Holy ground….

  2. You praise Him boldly through this post and in the midst. Thank you!

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Lori, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

  4. Wanda says:

    Great words of wisdom – through out life the Triune God has taken me from one place of “horror” to another. At times it was physical, at times emotional – through it all I would hold onto my Savior’s robe as He dragged me through the streets.

    As long as I could cling to His robe I would have the strength to keep on keeping on. I thought surely the latter years would be easier – that was not what He has had planned for me – thus I continue to cling to His robe knowing where He takes me is what is best for me.

    Thank you the encouragement of your words and journey.