I.hate.boats. it’s true. Even on the most beautiful scenery on the Cape of South Africa, I still really hate boats. The way they rock you from side to side, threatening to empty you of the contents of your stomach, determined to rob you of the sustenance inside you. Yep, I hate everything about boats; except maybe the way they look.
When my husband Stuart and I first started dating we got swept up in the romantic notion of having dinner on a boat. So without considering the consequences we booked a table in haste on La Hispaniola, a gorgeous vessels moored on the banks of the River Thames. Oh what a horrible, ill thought out mistake! The boat swayed constantly without a care for our very expensive meal, which at points we physically attempted to hold onto… suffice to say any remaining hope for a good date vanished then. It was NOT a good look and definitely an experience never to be repeated. So recently as I ventured with my friends towards Robben Island, Nelson Mandela’s prison and home for over two decades, I found myself regretting the decision to once again get on the sea. I felt in part that maybe this part of the journey in a way was also used as part of the punishment for those prisoners who, like me fail to see the logic behind boats. Horrible things! But as I wrestled against the churning feeling inside my stomach, my beautiful friend offered me potentially life saving advice in the middle of my crisis: “keep your eyes on the horizon”, she said. “Because the horizon does not move”. And as I heeded her advice the results were remarkable!! That sick feeling inside was instantaneously replaced with an amazing experience of calm, and just like that, I felt well again. I mean the waves were still raging, the boat still rising up and down and yet I remained unaffected. It was absolutely amazing! I don’t mean to sound religious or overly spiritual but I can honestly say that in this moment, I really felt God. Many times I’ve talked nonchalantly about keeping my eyes on Jesus, or my eyes on the cross, but in this moment, I knew what it felt to focus on the constant and to have that constant point give you peace from the storm. To know that yes, the waves still rage but the effects they have on you are not the same. In that moment, nothing really had changed; yet everything had changed. My focus was different; literally. And because I was no longer looking down but looking ahead, my whole being found peace. What a practical lesson for me on what it is like to keep my eyes on Jesus! Not only because he remains the onlyone constant force in my life when the seas are rough but also because he did it too. The course that was set before Him wasn’t easy; even though the wind and the waves obeyed Him it was still a rough journey. But He considered the joy set before him and He endured. He kept his eyes on the horizon. So in his example I trust him for peace in the middle of my storm. Whatever that may look like.
Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.