Has Your Life Blown Off Course?

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I recently wrote about a friend who has left his marriage and is unsure what he’ll do next. I haven’t been able to meet with him yet, and even when I do there’s no guarantee he’ll return. Meanwhile, my wife and I are talking with his wife, whom we’ve known even longer, and care for very much. She’s devastated. And we’re in emergency prayer mode. It seems as if her life has blown off course. And yet…

I studied sailing in college and learned that, while it’s fun to “run with the wind,” it doesn’t happen very often. More often, the wind is against you. And you can’t sail directly into the wind, period. So you have to tack, which means to repeatedly “come about,” making lurching 90° turns that cause your sail to careen from one side of the boat to the other, sometimes sweeping unwary passengers overboard. Sailing is not a spectator sport. And neither is marriage.

Or life. Most of the time you have to zigzag, responding to constantly changing 
conditions, executing extreme turns, ducking the sail, and enlisting the help of everyone you can. Challenging? Yes! But the alternatives are worse. Either you, 1) luff—just sit there, dead in the water, as the wind passes you by, or, 2) capsize—get blown over and turn “turtle.” Righting the boat when that happens is possible, but very difficult. And you can’t do it alone.

Right now, our friend’s wife feels like she’s alone. But she isn’t. We and others are ready to help her right the ship. And more importantly, God is ready.

Romans 8:28 says, “God causes all things to work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” Note that it doesn’t say God “designs” or “pre-plans” all things to work together—this is no promise of “smooth sailing”—rather, it says he causes all things to work together.Sailing-Tacking

I have a friend named Larry who founded a powerful prison ministry. He did this by, 1) murdering a man, 2) receiving a life sentence, 3) serving a decade of hard time, 4) finding Christ, 5) becoming an in-prison chaplain, 6) receiving a gubernatorial pardon, and 7) building a ministry that has changed the lives of thousands. God didn’t say, “Hey, I think I’ll have Larry kill someone so he can build a wonderful outreach.” Rather, he took Larry’s terrible choices and, once Larry turned his life over to him, “caused” those choices to “work together for good.”

God can cause whatever happens in your life, your wrong choices or those of others, to get you back on-course, and to change the world for good. So how do you make that happen? Just love him (truly love him–which means letting him navigate), and the “called according to his purpose” part will happen.

So, whether you’re struggling to get your own ship or a friend’s ship back on-course, there’s scary, exhilarating sailing ahead.

All hands on deck.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Has Your Life Blown Off Course?

  1. Jon Kissner says:

    Mitch your friend Larry’s journey is a great explanation of Romans 8:28 which for many folks, including myself, has been tough to understand in real living terms. Thanks for posting this.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Elitsa says:

    About the art of sailing in the deep waters of marriage, sometimes I just want to set my anchor after the winds of arguing, but I’m not sure we’re heading into the same port.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I really enjoyed this and your apt analogy. Romans 8:28 is often quoted out of context and the “for those who love Him…” is often omitted. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Someone asked one time, “when things go wrong, where is Jesus?” My reply, “in Prison, all who go, find him there.” My wife, a prison nurse for 23 years and me, an old retired trooper can attest to this.

    I am not mocking the post, just repeating what has been shared by those on the inside.
    I am a believer in the Trinity but shall it go behind the bars in search of.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. HAT says:

    “God can cause whatever happens in your life, your wrong choices or those of others, to get you back on-course, and to change the world for good.” Probably the most understandable and relatable explanation of this phenomenon I’ve heard yet. Thanks.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. This may be the best one yet. We’re often led astray which puts us at the right place to “catch the wind”.

    Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great analogy and insights.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Mitch, this is a prime example of the “Beauty of allowing God in your life”‘. There is a time when your Ego takes over our Chart. Larry always had God, he only released God. Your friend with the marital problems may find his “Godding Light” to get back on course. A fine piece of writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Love the story about Larry.

    Be blessed. God is with you.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I pray that even though the marriage relationship of your friends has unraveled, God will not only bring them back together, but knit them more tightly than before. Praise God for Larry’s story (and the promise of Romans 8:28) that gives us hope for them, for others, and any circumstance WE may face.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Yoly says:

    I enjoyed reading this.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Great point! “Note that it doesn’t say God “designs” or “pre-plans” all things to work together—”

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Excellent story!!! Loved Larry’s story! Thank you, once again!!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Good analogy with the sailboat. I’ve often heard that when God has a bigger plan for us, he puts obstacles / hardships in our life, because we can only reach our true calling if we have suffered and he has humbled us. There is fear in the unknown, but sailing through a storm makes us stronger and when we come out of the storm, we have excitement, because, we know, “we did it!!” Then, there is no turning back.

    Liked by 5 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Absolutely! That’s what James 1:2-3 is all about: “Consider it all joy when you face various trials, because the testing of your face produces the perseverance you need to become whole and complete, lacking in nothing.”

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Jacquie says:

    I can remember how powerfully that revelation hit me, when I understood that part of God’s character. When we hand over the messes, He takes them, and He molds them into something so divine. It’s rarely restoration to the exact past form, but it is always something supernaturally sublime…better, in ways that we could never have predicted. Your friends are in my prayers, and I have no doubt that God’s hand will be evident in the outcome of their situation. He is just that good!

    Liked by 6 people

  16. Powerful & instructive. I especially love the sailing analogy. Mitch — you’d make an excellent chaplain yourself. Story moves us all. And you are a divine storyteller. Thank you for sharing. ⛵️

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Wonderful post! And, I love to sail so it makes it even better.

    I do have a question. Please know that I ask this with 100% sincerity and not to be a skeptic or in the vein of cynicism. My motive is purely personal.

    Towards the end of the post you offer the following: “So how do you make that happen? Just love him (truly love him–which means letting him navigate), and the “called according to his purpose” part will happen.”

    My question is, how can a person “just love him (truly love him)…” if they don’t even know if he exists? I would like nothing more than to know – and to love god and let him navigate – but he will know that I am pretending and that I haven’t seen any evidence that has convinced me he is real. I continue to look, even pray for some sign or turn of events that will allow me to honestly believe.

    Thank you, following.

    Liked by 4 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Duncan, I think it’s wonderful that you are earnestly asking the most important question a human being can ask! I mentioned to a close family member recently, who is undergoing a similar struggle, that looking for God with the five material senses, or looking for an emotional confirmation (which is tied to the senses) is fruitless. God is a Spirit, not a material being, so looking for physical proof of his existence is like trying to “hear” what something tastes like, a non sequitur. My leap of faith (and it is a leap for anyone who’s wired like you or me) came when I encountered Jesus in the New Testament. His words and character haunted me. I realized at some point that it was more rational for me to trust him regarding the ultimate Reality than it was myself, just as it would be more rational for me to trust a neurosurgeon than myself regarding whether I have a brain tumor or not. And so I leaped. https://mitchteemley.com/2016/01/11/my-leap-of-life/
      Not that you should start and end with me (far from it), but here’s a link to my brief three-part “Why I Believe” series: https://mitchteemley.com/2014/09/02/why-i-believe-part-one/ Consider reading C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” next, if you haven’t already. Blessings in your journey, my friend. I’m praying for you. Jeremiah 29:11-13

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Iulia Halatz says:

    Very beautiful story and powerful analogy. You are a wonderful story teller.
    I sometimes say, we are leaves in the wind, but we like the wind.
    Anyway, life has a way or many ways of blowing off course, the idea is to be ready and to believe in the beauty of the wind, no matter where it takes us.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Roos Ruse says:

    What a perfect message for me on this morning that I am facing some serious winds also. Your details and stories reminded me of the happy couple of years I lived on a sailboat with a slip a stone’s throw from Parker’s Lighthouse. Life is indeed an adventure, and best when we keep our goal in sight.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Ann Coleman says:

    That’s a good point to make. Too often, when trouble comes our way, we think “Why did God do this to me?” Instead, we should think, “How can God make this okay?”

    Liked by 5 people

  21. Jennie says:

    Really good, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Its so nice to think about to the times you think your life has blown off course, but only to realize God has you right where you need to be!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. This is such a great post, Mitch.
    If God can put Larry’s life back together and use his life for good/God, He can surely put this marriage back together.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. numrhood says:

    call unto thee romans 33:53

    Like

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