Courage: Discovering the Courage to Sail Rough Seas
Max Lucado recounts about ancient ocean maps that were so incomplete in the 1400s that sailors wrote notes on the unchartered areas of the maps. Not knowing what’s ahead on an ocean is especially fearful when there is no land in view and no knowledge there will be. They wrote things like, “Here be dragons,” and in another place, “Here be demons,” and “Here be sirens.” A master mariner who was a Believer crossed through those frightful words and wrote, “Here is God.” 1
We don’t have to be on oceans to face rough waters in our lives. We usually call them difficult situations or trials. Or we say that “life happens.” We can be as frightened as the ancient sailors who were tossed on the waves of their unknown future. Yet, we have a Master Mariner who wants us to remember what He has done so that we can know who He is.
I like to journal times when God showed up. It helps me to remember how involved He is in my life. The scripture is filled with times He has said “remember.” It seems my ability to forget is greater than my ability to remember. Yet in remembering, I find hope.
I’m not alone in that weakness. When God told Joshua to cross the Jordon River to go into the Promised Land, the river was at flood stage. Once again, God dried up the waters and Israel walked across on dry ground, just as He had dried up the Red Sea. You would think something that incredible would be impossible to forget. But God knew human nature and commanded them to build a monument using twelve stones from the Jordan.
By God’s instruction, Joshua said, “In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground….’ This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always” (Josh 4:20-24 MSG).
Actions are outward demonstrations of who a person is, they reveal character, and are a glimpse into their heart. By remembering what God has done in the past, we can trust His character to be the same Person who keeps His word today. Notice the reasons Joshua gave – others would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and the people of Israel would be in awe of Him with a solemn reverence.
If we only want what God has in His hand, we miss what He is really offering – His heart. Once we see His amazing heart, when we don’t understand the “why” of something that’s happening, we can remember “Who” is in control, and like the ancient mariner, we can have the courage to believe, “Here is God.”
1 Live Loved © 2011 by Max Lucado, p76, Published by Thomas Nelson