Learning to Sail

 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” – Matthew 8:27

The sunset was beautiful on Lake Pontchartrain last night, but there wasn’t much wind for sailing. For the last ten years, I’ve been the grateful beneficiary of occasional sailing invitations thanks to my friend Wilhelmina whose dad and grandfather are experienced sailors with boats on the lake. I hardly ever pay attention to the wind unless it’s unusually strong. Not sailors! Sailors are trained to pay attention to subtle movements in the wind and to navigate using complicated instruments and even the stars!

My sailing trip reminded me of Moana, a movie I’ve watched three times already this summer! Moana is the story of a young Hawaiian girl who yearns to travel the seas. The problem is that Moana can’t sail. Her father has refused to teach her to sail in a misguided attempt to keep her safe. However, when Moana learns that her ancestors were voyagers and that she has been chosen for a special journey to restore the health of her island (it’s decaying due to a sort of curse), she hops on a sailboat in the middle of the night to fulfill her destiny. Things do not go well for Moana in the sailboat until she meets Maui. With Maui as her guide, Moana learns the ancient sailing skills that her ancestors knew and (spoiler alert!) fulfills her destiny and leads her people.

Just like Maui teaches Moana to sail, Jesus teaches the disciples a thing or two. Even though many of the disciples were experienced sailors as part of their fishing vocation, they were, nevertheless, terrified when a storm appeared one night as they were journeying with Jesus. The mighty winds and thunderous waves caused them to wake Jesus who calmed the storm and chastised them for their worry. “What sort of man is this,” the disciples asked, “that even winds and sea obey him?”

Jesus spent his years of ministry with the disciples teaching them to navigate life even when there are storms, or dark skies, or no wind. Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection he taught the disciples to get from where they are (scared, doubting, distrustful) to where they’re meant to be (bold, brave, faithful). Even after his death, Jesus wanted the disciples to know that he is always in their boat. With their newfound sailing skills, the disciples spread the good news of Jesus to the far corners of the world and faced challenges, even death, with a peace that passes all understanding.


What about you? Who are some master sailors you know who have proven their ability to navigate life’s storms with a confounding peace? How can you remind yourself that Jesus is in your boat even in the midst of challenging conditions?  

Thanks for reading!

Hands and Feet

Retreat from the World