Has Your Life Blown Off Course?


I recently wrote about a friend who’d left his marriage and begun divorce proceedings. I urged him to rethink his decision, to break the cyclical infatuation/divorce pattern that is his family’s multigenerational legacy. But he chose instead to perpetuate it. Meanwhile, my wife and I met and encouraged his ex, whom we love very much. She was devastated. It seemed her life had 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.

Our friend’s wife felt like she was alone. But she wasn’t. We and others were ready to help her right the ship. And more importantly, God was 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? Love him, truly love him–which means letting God navigate–and the “called according to his purpose” part will happen.

Whether you’re struggling to get your own ship or a friend’s ship back on-course, there’s bound to be 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.

69 Responses to Has Your Life Blown Off Course?

  1. Thotaramani says:

    Mitch! Can we change the people for Good, 👍🏻👌

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I fell into prison ministry a few years back… never would have expected Him to use me in that way, but it’s been an eye opening experience.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Nice work, Mitch. The wind here in Montana is collaborating with subzero temperatures to freeze up whatever dares show its face…wisdom lies in layers and thick hats. Stay warm!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda Lee @LadyQuixote says:

    Best. Post. EVER!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Thank you, Mitch. This is a wise, insightful piece. God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post, Mitch. In order to head in the right directions, we have to be open to the corrections.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What I loved best about my oldest grandson’s wedding several years ago was that they both realized that marriage would sometimes be hard and they would have to stick it out to fulfill their vows. As early twenty-somethings, they had that wisdom and stated their commitment from the start. Oh, that others could see the light of that wisdom and avoid gaining and passing on the wounds of failed promises.

    They’re expecting their third daughter this spring and are active in ministry. Parents on both sides did a great job.

    Thanks, Mitch. As always, great message.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Insightful and uplifting, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Staci Troilo says:

    Just what I needed to hear right now. Amen.

    Thanks, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. JOY journal says:

    Beautiful and true!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Beautiful encouragement. Thank God for HUGE. favors.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Very good Mitch! Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. jboelhower says:

    This post resonated with me, as I am approaching 25 years of marriage and a hard childhood. The zigs and zags of life can be tiring. Can wear you down. Through it all I believed in love / God. (Won’t get into the crazy zig / zag of religions I had contact with in my younger days). I know that belief helped in keeping on a trajectory to where I am now. Powerful post!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Great Post. Thanks for pointing out that God doesn’t cause the evil, but is always beside us, to bring some good out of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Kimie says:

    This is such an encouragement! Thank you for the reminder ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Great story telling Mitch. A beautiful story. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to your friends. Marriage is hard, but it’s worth it. Thanks too for sharing Larry’s story. It’s funny how God works, makes the most of our bad choices.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Abe Austin says:

    Really, really liked this Mitch! I honestly don’t know where we got into our heads that God makes the bad things happen in our lives, but somehow our society is fixated on that idea. It’s a notion that paints God as sadistic and it crushes our faith in Him. If God were the author of our pain, we could only have relief when He finally decided to stop hurting us. Who would want to worship someone like that?

    It’s so much more hopeful (and true!) to see things the way that you’re describing. God doesn’t make the evil, He overcomes it, and we can have His relief just as soon as we’re willing to surrender into it! It’s actually up to US to decide we’re ready to be healed.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. jmfayle says:

    Beautifully said! Your illustration from sailing and teaching about God’s intention with us are true! Once we turn to Him for mercy and help. we can learn and adapt to the right ways to manage our struggles of life. You’re talking’ my story right there, Mitch. .Boom! Thank you, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. #hood says:

    you tagged 8:38 the wrong scripture, as for 8:36, does romans has a verse 33 o 53.

    by his stripes says 33:53


  20. Andi says:

    Wonderful wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Carolina Mom says:

    This is an amazing post, Mitch. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Kara Luker says:

    Great real-life, encouraging and very relevant post Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Mitch, this post is proof that you’re an excellent teacher. You packed powerful life lessons into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Unicorn Dreaming says:

    Great post.. thank you.. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Great post, Mitch. All so true, and something I need to bookmark and some back to frequently, or print it out when I get set up to print again. But now I’m just trying to move into my new home and get things put in place. I’ll be talking about this move later today, but now it’s time to get to the chapel.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This makes a great devotional! With Jesus at the helm, we tack into the wind – the storms that seem to come the moment we think we’re comfortable! I want to share your lesson with my small group

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Don White says:

    This is really good, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Ann Coleman says:

    Thanks for writing about what I think is a very important distinction: God doesn’t send bad stuff our way to teach us a lesson, but God can uses the bad stuff to further his will. That’s a very different thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. This blog is a must-read for couples who are too angry to forgive one another and surrender to God. Thank you, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Afreekan says:

    Great! So encouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Beverley says:

    Powerful post. And I like that you emphasize that God used our bad choices to turn it into good. What a wonderful God we serve. Thank for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Eileen says:

    Yes! Such grace when we fail and are truly sorry and God brings good out of our failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: Why Are You Staying in a Loveless Marriage? – Living in a Sexless Relationship.

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