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Sailing, Takes Me Away

Sailing is an adventure, a good adventure, but sailing also has it moments in which the intricate balance between two of the most destructive forces on earth – the force of water, the force of wind – must be kept in intricate balance. Usually though, the worst that can happen is that a boat may capsize or simply stall in the wall. In a small sailboat, a capsized boat can be fun; simply right the boat, bail the water and continue sailing. Yet, when the boat is larger, and the water more treacherous, capsizing a boat is something we would rather avoid.

Sailing downwind is particularly enjoyable and, at times, particularly dangerous. You might think if the wind is at your back and the sail is billowed like a parachute, what could possibly go wrong? The boat sails upright, the wind blows from the stern, life is good. It’s as Christopher Cross sang: “If the wind is right, you can sail away and find tranquility.” Such serene moments can lull us into a dismissed security. Take your eyes off the sail, and one strong gust of wind and the wrong wave at the wrong time, and the boat capsizes into a dangerous broach.

Yet, there is an undeniable thrill in sailing, and especially sailing with wind filling our sails from behind. Some boats let out a special sail called a spinnaker at such a moment. The spinnaker is usually strikingly colorful and billowed full-body like a large cloud. With a spinnaker in full array, life is good.

Indeed, life is a lot like sailing. Life is filled with adventure with its moments of colorful spinnaker released in a fair sea of delight. Life is good. Ironically, such moments when everything is so right and nothing can go wrong is precisely when everything can go wrong. The boat can broach, upend, completely capsize. Someone might say we should never sail; we should never venture out or risk. Some people do live so cautiously that they become too afraid to live. “There is a lion in the streets!” says the proverb (Proverbs 26.13b). The dangerous lion may be in the street, but so is living, so is life itself. If we live too fearful we risk not living at all. God has set both prosperity and adversity before us.

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”

Ecclesiastes 7.14

Each has its day, and we need both for life to retain its balance. All sunshine makes a desert. We need the rain. The billowed sail in front of us may come crashing down about us, and when that happens, and it will, we need to remember that the worst of all times can also be the best of all times.

The spinnaker may be colorful and full, but no boat can sail without wind.