Whilst visiting our son in Australia last year, my husband and I went on a whale-watching boat trip. As we set off the water was calm, but on leaving the harbour for the open sea, instead of spying whales playfully leaping above the surface, we were confronted by a six metre swell of water! Smooth sailing had suddenly become an alarming rollercoaster ride!
The skipper merely commented that the ocean was ‘a little choppy today’! It seemed much worse than that to the rest of us landlubber passengers! However, I was reassured by his casualness and not afraid for our safety. What did trouble me though (and most of the rest of the passengers too) was the nausea we were feeling that was getting worse by the minute, and the horrible fear of being seasick!
With my balance upset, I prayed hard and did what someone told me to do: fixed my eyes on the horizon. I kept telling myself that however much we rolled and surged up and down, the horizon never changed. The nausea subsided, and once I discovered this key - to concentrate on what was unchanging, straight and true - my determination to keep doing so never wavered!
At the end of the day, my disappointment at not having seen any whales paled into insignificance compared with the relief at not having been seasick! But as I thought about how determined I had been to focus on the horizon, I realised how much more I needed that kind of persistent dedication to keeping my spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus. For we live in a world that is ever changing, where there are intimidating realities all around us, and where, from time to time, we all encounter the turmoil and confusion of stormy seas in our lives. We can so easily be filled with fear and anxiety, or even hopelessness and despair.
But what a blessing it is when we remember, in the middle of whatever turbulence we are experiencing, to lift our eyes to our heavenly Father and fix them on Him, who is completely unchanging, who is our Rock, whose love for us is unchanging, who is faithful and right there with us in our particular storms. When we do that, although completely undeserved, by His grace and mercy, He rewards us richly with peace for our distress, safety for our vulnerability, stability and security for our confusion and uncertainty, and hope for our hopelessness.
Prayer: Father, I am sorry that I so often focus on the circumstances of my life and forget to lift my eyes to You. Please help me to develop that persistent determination to keep my eyes fixed on You, so that I will always remember in whatever I am going through that You are with me. Thank you that You are the one who never changes in the ever-changing circumstances of life, thank you that your love for me never changes and thank you that it is in You I can find real peace and security. Amen.
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