Tag Archives: reunion

Sailing Through Life – Part 4 – Staying the Course


It was the first day on board the ship. Outside it was cloudy and sprinkling. Yet as we looked over the sea it was quite a sight. Over the ship’s bow we saw very dark clouds. Looking starboard at about the 1:00 position there was a patch of blue sky; about the 4:00 position there was rain. Aft-ward it was cloudy. Port-ward it was partly sunny.

It struck me that the Captain didn’t point the ship towards the sunniest area nor change direction to avoid rain. Rather he stayed the course. He could stay the course because the route was clearly marked out for him and he was singularly focused on where we were headed. With his eyes on the goal he was not to be deterred. The important thing for him was not seeking sunshine or avoiding the rain. The important thing was to get where we were headed on time and safely. So he followed the course laid out.

It occurred to me that I’ve heard this before somewhere. Sure enough, in Hebrews 12:1-2.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus focused on a guaranteed future joy of reunion with His Father. That singular focus empowered Him to stay the course no matter what the weather.

With our cultural weather today it is getting increasingly harder to openly follow Jesus. We are easily tempted to back off, to become distracted, deterred or detoured. So it is increasingly important to focus on Jesus, no matter the weather. It was the same for the Hebrew Christians. so the author encourages them: “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:3) Stay focused.

Storms may strike, rain may pour down, clouds may darken, the weather may work against us. We will always encounter sorrow, grief, disappointment, trial, trouble, defeat, and failure as we sail through life. Stay focused on Jesus. Stay the course. Run with perseverance.

Because our Captain stayed the course we arrived at our first port safely and on time – and even with bright sunshine! Be assured the day is coming when we will arrive – safely and on time – in the Port of Jesus. We will see Him face to face. With that joy before us we can focus on Jesus. Stay the course.

G. A. Studdert-Kennedy penned it poetically (1) :

Sometimes I wish that I might do
Just one grand deed and die,
And by that one grand deed reach up
To meet God in the sky.
But such is not Thy way, O God
Not such is Thy decree,
But deed by deed, and tear by tear
Our souls must climb to Thee,
As climbed the only Son of God
From manger unto Cross;
Who learned, through tears and blood and sweat
To count this world but loss;

Who left the Virgin Mother’s Arms
To seek those arms of shame,
Outstretched upon the lonely hill
To which the darkness came.
As deed by deed, and tear by tear
He climbed up to the height,
Each deed a splendid deed,
Each tear a Jewel shining bright,
So grant us, Lord, the patient heart,
To climb the upward way
Until we stand upon the height,
And see the perfect day.

(1) ROUGH RHYMES OF A PADRE, “Patience”, Hodder & Stoughton Limited – Publishers, Toronto, Canada, p. 52-53, from https://archive.org/details/roughrhymesofpad00studuoft/page/n9

Fifty Years

Last week I wrote that this week’s blog would focus on identifying and uprooting the weeds in our lives. But I ran into some interference. This past weekend I had the pure joy of participating in the 50th reunion of my high school graduating class. What a fabulous time. And it has led to many reflections.

The first is that life has changed. Things are different now than they were in 1967. For example the 1967 year end Dow Jones Industrial Average was 905. The average cost of new house was $14,250.00, average income was $7,300.00, gas cost 28-33 cents per gallon, a new car $2,750.00 and the Federal Minimum Wage increased to $1.40 an hour. And check out the average professional athlete salaries: NFL – 25,000, NBA – 20,000, and the MLB – 19, 000. Life has changed.

Then, too, when we herd the word ‘text’ we thought of a schoolbook. A Facebook meant mug shots of potential criminals. Twitter was most likely the name of a bird. A laptop was the place where kids sat to get love from grandma & grandma. And if you had a blue tooth it meant a trip to the dentist. Life has changed.

Second, as we dedicated some time to memorializing those of our classmates who have passed from this life I felt a renewed sense of gratitude for life itself.

A third reflection has to do with our shared history. The preacher, in Ecclesiastes 3 said there is a time to be born and a time to die and neither is of our own choosing. So we classmates were brought together by our date of birth and place of residence, neither of our own choosing, and yet were bound together forever. We were peers, friends, sometimes competitors. We learned together, worked together, played together, laughed together, cried together, and grew together. Friendships were forged, memories made, and bonds built. Our lives were deeply intertwined – all because the Lord of history many years ago merged our lives and histories into one. So for two nights we came together – not to complain about where or when we were born or gripe about how life has treated us, but to get reacquainted and to celebrate and share how, though apart, we have lived out our common history throughout the years and to rejoice in how far we’ve come and where we are.

The Psalmist expresses my feelings well: “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6) Much has changed in my life over the years. Much has happened over the years – much wonderful much painful. But I am still given the gift of life. And I have a a long history not only with great family, friends and untold numbers of acquaintances, but with God. I can complain about things that have happened or about how life has treated me, or I can rejoice in how far I’ve come and where I am. I choose the latter. No matter what has happened or will happen, I have a delightful inheritance. I know who and whose I am. “I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has also set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.” (Heidelberg Catechism #1) Now that’s worth celebrating and sharing every day.