Oh Captain, My Captain

I was journaling the other night about the various worship songs that sing about stepping out into the waters – the consistent symbol of stepping out into the unknowing, to depths unseen where navigating forward requires trust, hope, allegiance, and bravery.  The OT even referenced the Leviathan – legends and myths that overtime still exist because that which covers most of our earth is still unknown. I’ve spoken in the past about how too quick we are to sing – and in doing so make declarations – of our willingness to step into the deep and dark mysteries trusting in God alone simply because the tune is catchy.  Without meditating, we chant out words of keeping our eyes over the mystery and fixed on Jesus. So lovely.

But what happens when God says “it’s time to step out” and you suddenly can’t feel the sand beneath your feet and you can’t see the shore and you can’t see anyone for miles? What happens when the melodious tune of the songs we sang in a community fades as the sounds of thunder encircle and entrap us? What happens when we get out of the boat and suddenly see ourselves sinking at an exponential rate knowing our own flesh do not have the supernatural abilities to walk out what we have prayed? What happens when the prayers we’ve boldly prayed when feeling confident in our faith – prayers of “teach me how to trust in You alone”, “sharpen me, mold me”, “I’ll go where You go”, “not my will but Yours be done” – solidify right in front of us?

This has felt like my past year, committing and praying to God that I would learn to trust deeper…and then He beckoned me to come. Those first few steps feel intoxicating, walking on the water with Jesus Himself who invited us!  But so quickly do we realize that it’s not just a few steps He calls us to, but a narrow road with twists and turns where many do not go. In that, it feels like a lonely road, despite conversations we have frequently in our spiritual communities. There’s a loneliness to it because of how sacred, intimate, personal the individual journey is. How private the garden is in which He walks with us in the coolness of day. What He said to me about my next steps, my refining, my being shaped in His hands seems so starkly different from what He said to you. Why can’t we be on the exact same journey together? Why can’t we be going through the molding or the fire or the glazing together at the exact same time? He bids us to take His yoke and not someone else’s… to continue forward on the journey with Him.

I’ve likened the garden of encounter with the desert where He woos our hearts back. Lush and flourishing with the sounds of morning dew crystalizing… with stark moments of parched isolation and mirages of temptation. In both moments He is there inviting us to come and says “Don’t be afraid”. And in courage I confess, “I’m afraid”.

So as I no longer feel the ground beneath my feet and I step into a season of un-knowing, un-predicting, un-controlling, I climb back into the boat and say “Truly you are the Son of God”. He then not only quiets, but rebukes the winds, the storms, the sounds of thunder taunting me and reminds me that He said we were to cross to the other side. We have a journey, a destination, to push back the darkness on the other side.

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