Monday, May 11, 2009

"Good Enough" Harbor

My ship was comfortable and content. My ropes were all tied securely to the dock of "Good Enough Harbor." Sure, the rains came and the winds blew. But there was a tarp and a hammock on deck. The fishing was only mildly successful. But fishing is good fishing even without catching. I was the Contented Captain of my own vessel.

While I reclined in my hammock, sleep slipped beneath me like the tide and I drifted away. So did my ship. I didn't see the hands that removed the ropes from the dock of "Good Enough Harbor." Nor did I hear the door to the ship's cabin close and lock.

While I slumbered, my ship set sail. With a few hours of sleep behind me, I slowly awoke to unfamiliar waters. Startled, I rubbed sleep from my eyes and looked around for the horizon. Where did my "Good Enough Harbor" go?

The horizon off each rail of the ship looked the same. No land in sight. Dark clouds in every direction. Beneath my feet, the ropes that once tied me securely to the harbor were neatly coiled and stacked. They hadn't slipped. Nor had they been cut.

Someone was on board my ship!

I ran to the ship's cabin and found it locked. The windows into the cabin were fogged over from the inside. Yet I could see Someone at the helm.

The ship dipped into a deep swell and I nearly lost my balance. Saltwater sprayed and soaked me in an instant. I grabbed a rail and looked into the direction we were moving. It was about to get ugly in a hurry. Blacker skies I have never seen. Swells rising like massive walls.

I wanted to argue with the One who had taken over the steering of my vessel, but self-preservation forced me to prepare for the imminent storm.

I managed to take cover below deck, but it was of little comfort. I gripped a pole with my arms and legs as the ship tossed and dove, rose and dropped. My ship was being hit from all sides with relentless force. A life vest floated by and I crawled into it one arm at a time. But what good was this small vest should the ship break apart and the stormy seas swallow me?

Though I was certain no one could hear me, I screamed and cried in fear and doubt. I couldn't even hear my own screams. Why would anyone want to board my ship, disembark from the safety of the harbor, and guide us through these horrific storms?

Grief consumed me. Tears drained my eyes of strength. Sorrow crushed my soul.

As the ship tossed up, over, and down through an endless succession of gigantic waves, I prayed for mercy. Mercy came in the form of an unidentified metal object that had loosed itself from the ship and whacked me on the back of the head.

The next hours were mostly blurry or totally dark. Sometime later, I awoke. Coughing. Spitting. Choking on all that I had swallowed while unconscious. My head throbbed. I let out a minor sob as if it was all I had left. And I heard it!

It dawned on me that the ship was no longer tossing about. Water no longer filled the ship below deck. Though my ears were ringing, I could hear birds chirping.

I unwrapped myself from the pole and stood with great effort. Everything hurt. As I forced myself toward the stairs that led to the deck, I saw beams of sunlight warming the steps.

I emerged to an unbelievable sight. My imagination could not have found such beauty as what I now saw before me. I was surrounded by sights of glory and majesty that soared beyond my knowledge of reality. It was the most beautiful harbor I'd ever seen.

My ropes were secured to this fantasy harbor. My ship was intact. The door to the ship's cabin creaked open and a familiar face greeted me with a gentle smile. He was the Owner and legitimate Captain of this vessel. I had given it over to Him many years ago because I had wrecked it and couldn't afford the restoration. After He purchased it, I just continued on as if it were mine.

I limped toward Him and fell at His feet. "This place is unlike anything I've ever seen. It is beautiful," I said. He didn't reply.

He touched the back of my head and looked at me with sorrow in His eyes, as if He understood pain and suffering.

I looked up at Him, not sure how to ask about all that I had been through. Then I saw His wounds. Mine were minor compared to His.

I began to cry again. My body went into a sobbing rhythm for a few minutes. I was not able to fully regain my composure, but I managed to ask,
"Why? Why did You lead me through those terrible storms?"

He spoke.
"There was no other way to get you here."

Weeks later, I was completely restored. Joy was my constant companion. Peace covered the deck of my ship. The fishing was excellent. And I must tell you...the storms of life are worth it when the Owner of the vessel is at the helm. The Captain of my soul knows what He is doing and where He is leading.

(This story is based on a vision God gave me after I read Psalm 31).

Trusting the Captain,
Perry Crisp

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Joan Stepsen
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