Dad and I got up way before sunrise, and we had one thing our brain: Fishing. Despite our normal poor luck with catching fish, our problem that day would not be the fish. As I recall, the weather forecast called for clear skies, but on that steamy summer day in southern Alabama, our problem would not be the skies either.
Today wasn’t going to be the normal fishing spot in bay or the river. No, today we had our sites on much bigger fish. We were headed into deep water this time (literally and figuratively). The thrill of reeling in “the big one” lured us there. We launched Dad’s sixteen-foot boat in the bay and steered toward the mouth of Mobile Bay, which opened wide into the Gulf of Mexico.
No, our problem wasn’t the weather or the fish; our problem that day was the waves. Although the waves were rather normal in the gulf, we didn’t anticipate how big they would be as they bottleneck and funnel into the mouth of the bay. If the question crossed your mind, “Hey, is a sixteen-foot boat the typical size of a gulf fishing boat?, then you would be understanding the root of our problem. As we pushed through the mouth of the bay the waves grew larger and larger. I stood on the bow, gripping the handrail, and the waves were splashing over the bow soaking me and filling the bottom of the boat. Our little bilge pump had more than it could handle.
Isn’t that the way it always seems to go? You’re moving along so smoothly, and then “Wham, the ride gets rough. Out of nowhere come huge, threatening waves. Have you noticed how often storms appeared in the Biblical stories? You may have heard of the little storm that Noah and his family faced. Job complained to God, “You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm” (Job 30:22). Jonah endured a violent storm only to be tossed overboard into bigger problems. The apostle Paul shipwrecked. The disciples were caught in a furious storm more than once on the Sea of Galilee.
Our little boat was pounded head-on into the waves. One time the saltwater went over my head as I was standing on the bow. I was afraid. Would we be able to turn around? Would the waves capsize us? I looked back at my father, and he was in full control of the situation. There is nothing in the world that would have kept him from getting us back safely. In a little while, my dad was able to make a quick u-turn between the oncoming swells and lead us back into the calmer waters.
That was at least 20 years ago, and that was our last attempt to take Dad’s little boat into the gulf. As I look back over this experience, do I have any repressed anger at my father for taking me out and allowing me to go through that rough water? Not at all. Little did I know how much this experience would bring us even closer together.
I don’t know how big the waves are which are crashing against your boat this week. I don’t know how much water you may have taken on. Yet, I know that your Father wants to share this experience with you. He wants to be the one you trust. He wants to be the one to go through the storm with you. The apostle Paul who had been shipwrecked himself understood this. He wrote in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Knowing this, you’ll be able to meet the crashing waves.