Faith on the Open Seas

Posted on August 30, 2012 by

This summer Vickie and I had an opportunity to visit an island called Curacao. One of the fun things we did was ride a catamaran. The place we were staying had created a harbor that was safe behind a rock wall. The wall protected people from the wind and waves of the ocean. Riding the catamaran in that harbor was tame compared to taking a ride outside the wall. Once the catamaran was outside the safety of the wall, the wind and waves became fierce. I happened to be riding on the front of the catamaran and was having to time my breaths to coincide with each new wave that came my way. It was a great adventure that created a wonderful memory.

The adventure on the catamaran reminded me of my life of faith. Too much of my life of faith has been spent in the harbor behind the walls I have helped build. I have explored the harbor and occasionally taken a glance at the ocean and wondered what life on the open sea was like. Too often we equate faith with the doctrines and formulas instead of questions and adventure. The Bible says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” My guess is for many of us faith is more a matter of intellectual agreement with certain theological propositions. I have come to believe that faith is as much about the questions as it is about the answers. I believe the life of faith is an adventure.

Faith isn’t about having all the answers but learning to live with the questions. There are many things that we do not know for certain. The life of faith is more of an adventure. It’s more like finding your way out in the open sea as opposed to playing it safe in the harbor.

E. Stanley Jones writes about such a journey in his own spiritual life. Jones writes: ” My theology was neat and tied up with a blue ribbon – unchanging. I felt I should make the adventure and follow truth found anywhere, to whatever end it would lead me. I inwardly turned pale as I let go of the securities of a blocked off faith to follow truth to unknown destinations. In Chile there is literally a Veil of Paradise, as its name suggests. The harbor is beautiful but precarious. For when the storms come in from the southern seas, the ships have to leave the security of a beautiful harbor, lest they be dashed against the shores. They leave the security of the harbor and take out into the open sea and face the storm head on. It is safer than to hug the security of the harbor. I was leaving security of the Veil of Paradise – a blocked off and unchanging faith – and I was thrust out into the open seas and would meet life head on. Only the truth can make me free. There was a stormy period, but I found that by his grace I could face the storms and come out better and freer than ever. I even began to love the tang of the salt-spray of the open seas in my face as I rode out the storms… I was free – free to explore, to appropriate any good, any truth found anywhere, for I belonged to Jesus Christ. My one point of the compass was on Jesus, and the other point could swing as far into truth as it was able. For I was anchored – and free!”

Too many of us are content with life in the harbor behind the rock wall. We forget there is an ocean to be explored. The challenge is to leave the comfort of the harbor for the adventure of a lifetime on the open seas. Who knows what storms you will weather and where your journey of faith may lead you? Don’t worry—you are anchored and free in Christ!

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