I am in England at present with my work. Last night I stayed over in the seaside resort of Southend in the south east of the country. I had a long day yesterday and was tired this morning but dragged myself out of bed as the sun was shining and I wanted to run along Southend Pier, one of the most famous in the U.K.
So off I plodded. The first mile was a struggle as I was running into a headwind, had tired legs and still haven’t shaken off the phlegmy cough I have had for nearly two weeks. Note to self and Fionnuala – I will phone the doctors in the morning and make an appointment.
My confidence increased slightly as I glided past a couple of pensioners on the approach to the pier. Imagine my disappointment 1/2 mile later then when I reached my destination to find it closed. I ‘piered’ (sorry) forlornly at the locked entrance before turning with heavy heart and trudged back the way I had come. The pensioners looked at me empathetically. They had seen this many times before.
My spirits picked up slightly on the way back as, with the wind at my back, my pace improved slightly. I began to look forward to my breakfast and looked out over the sea to my right as the sun shimmered on its surface. I was approaching a number of rowing boats, their hulls upturned on the shingle beach.
As I drew nearer I saw one of them had the word ‘King’ written on it in bold, red letters. And as he often does when I’m running and he has my undivided attention God spoke to me in that instance. How often in our Christian journeys have we been stranded high on a beach, unable or unwilling to step out in faith into the water? Peter took a few tentative steps onto the Sea of Galilee but then floundered and began to sink. The other disciples remained rooted to their seats in the boat, paralysed by fear.
God wants us to set sail and boldly cross the ocean of life, safe in the knowledge that Jesus is with us. The waters may be choppy at times, due to any manner of troubles, or we may be stuck in the doldrums to the point where we feel we are going nowhere and life is passing us by. Great dangers may lurk in the deep as Satan tries to pull us out of the boat and drag us down into his murky depths.
But if we steady our spiritual rudders and allow God to fill our sails with his incomparable grace we will sail into uncharted waters and accomplish great things in his name. With Jesus guiding us, our King painted large on our souls in the bright red he shed for us on the Cross.
He can turn your life around. He wants to rescue you from the beach of failure and apathy and join him on the voyage of a lifetime. Just trust in him. Life will be plain sailing after that.
What is your favourite seaside resort?
Do you feel stranded on the beach? Or are you sailing into the unknown?