Traveling with Jesus Sometimes Leaves Me Seasick

Wow.

I get it now.

Ever have a moment like that?

Just, wow.

 

For years,

more than I care to number,

I 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.

 

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 then,

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, Jesus.

3 thoughts on “Traveling with Jesus Sometimes Leaves Me Seasick

  1. Cindy Payne

    I needed this right now. Thank you for your words of encouragement to carry me through the rough seas that lie ahead.

    Reply
  2. Nancy K. Sullivan

    Word pictures of how many of our days feel, Lori. They are quick to come to mind when we need the encouragement. Another reason on my list: “Why I read what Lori writes.” God Bless and keep painting these unforgettable truths. 🙂

    Reply

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