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Sailing Warnings

We live in a time of tremendous transition. All of us go through seasons of personal transition and change. On top of that the whole globe is in a season of much change. It’s important to be careful about decisions we make in times like these.

A few years ago I took some simple sailing lessons while on a vacation. To sail against the wind sailors use a strategy called tacking to go the direction they want to go rather than letting the wind just blow them where it wants. The boat ends up making a series of zigzag diagonal runs across the wind making a little progress on each tack but then eventually course correcting to keep the boat moving toward the goal.

I am told that the NASA rockets make thousands of course corrections on their flight path. Life is a little like that. We rarely take a direct path but there are many times of course corrections.

When tacking a boat, sailors must stay alert. As soon as the rudder is flipped and the boat begins to turn slightly, the wind will hit the sail on the opposite side and swing the boom across the deck, getting ready for the run across the wind the other direction. If the swinging boom catches you off guard it can hit your head hard or even knock you off the boat.

Paul warned Timothy “wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith” (1 Timothy 1:18,19)

I have seen people get hit by an unexpected transition and in response make poor decisions that were life altering. Often it’s not good to make additional big decisions during a time of transition but let the change play out first before adding another unnecessary change to your life. As Paul says we must wage good warfare, knowing we have an enemy that wants to knock us off balance. We need to stay in faith during times of transition. It’s never good to doubt what God showed us in the light when we are later passing through a time of darkness. As Paul warns, it is possible to shipwreck our faith.

Especially in times of transition, we must refuse to loose faith. We must pay close attention to our decisions and not violate our consciences just because we are confused at the time. When in the fog of doubt, it is better to trust the instrument readings of sound principles than to make impulsive decisions out of fear or confusion.


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