There are a multitude of different types of boats that provide the means to travel across water. One of my favorites is a canoe. Having lived in a part of the country that provided beautiful rivers and lakes, it was not uncommon for a camping trip to involve canoeing. And being a part of a very competitive group, there was always a race.
Experienced canoe-ers make it look so easy. Some people learn quickly and are simply very natural at it. They glide through the still water effortlessly, and navigate the rapids skillfully. All without getting wet. It can be very challenging to select the best route through the rocks while the rapids propel you forward. It’s very exciting!
Getting the right person in the canoe with you was the key to victory. There were always a few newbies in the crowd who had never canoed. They either had to get in a canoe with a very experienced person to have a chance to win, or they could canoe with the least competitive person, the one who wouldn’t care if they came in last or turned over. We never put two newbies in the same canoe. If we did, we would have to spend all our time in rescue missions.
Canoes can be tricky. Every step, every turn, every move matters if you plan to keep the vessel upright. They tip over quite easily. When riding with an experienced person, you can totally enjoy the surroundings, allowing the greatest satisfaction in the experience (and of course, have the confidence to win the race!). If an inexperienced person is in the canoe with you there is a very high risk you will go swimming at any moment. You must focus your attention on every move they make, giving constant instructions in order to move forward and not get stuck on a rock or tangled in the low hanging tree branches. It can be exhausting. On some of the trips you got to choose who would be in your canoe; other times, it was not your choice. When this occurred, you had to remind yourself that it’s the big picture that’s important – the camping trip was to be enjoyed with friends and family, and it’s ok if you took an incidental dip along the way.
Some of us are traversing this life as if our faith is a canoe. We want to travel only in selected rivers. If someone experienced gets in our boat, we are confident that all will be well. We enjoy the experience, confident that we will make the right choices and go in the right direction. We expect victory through the team effort in facing the rapids of difficulty or hardships that are a part of the journey. We can relax.
But when the newbie gets in, it can rock our boat. Perhaps they’ve been traveling in a different boat, but now they’re in ours. We are sure don’t know what they’re doing, so we feel we must give them constant instructions – the boat they had previously been in wasn’t like our canoe. We watch their every move and feel it our duty to correct them so that our ride will be smooth. Approaching difficulties or hardships make us very nervous, and our confidence wanes. We dread their unexpected movements, knowing that if they tip over, so do we. We can’t relax. This trip isn’t fun. We don’t like it when they rock our boat – it’s all we can do to keep it upright when we are traveling alone!
How this journey would be different if we saw that our faith is more like an aircraft carrier! An aircraft carrier is a warship that travels the ocean and can carry over sixty aircraft and six thousand sailors! Fighter planes take off from the flight deck with amazing velocity and return to the ship with landings that are nothing short of miraculous. Multitudes of people are performing multitudes of different tasks. The seamen may spend years of service on this vessel without ever meeting all who serve with them or entering every room on the ship. They certainly aren’t worried about a new arrival rocking their boat. The wind and the waves do not scare them. They are not afraid the ship will turn over or sink. They are secure.
They know that there must be other people involved for this ship to move forward and do all it was designed to do. They’ve experienced those who have left on a mission and upon return, crashed in their landing. They’ve helped them with their wounds and recovery. But the fact that someone crashed doesn’t rock their boat. It is still secure. This ship will continue to send out fighter planes with the confidence that the vast majority of them return safely, mission accomplished. And it is fully equipped to encounter the attacks that will come against it.
Perhaps others easily rock our faith boat because we don’t understand who built it.
“…Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith and is also its Finisher – bringing it to maturity and perfection.” Hebrews 12:2
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
He is able to navigate our faith to be all that He designed it to be and do all that He designed it to do. Relax. Hear His words. Enjoy this faith journey. It can be very exciting!!