Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Do You Steer a Rudderless Ship? Living Life without a Rudder

When I was growing up, we lived in a 12’ by 60’ mobile home. Now they refer to them as manufactured homes. I absolutely LOVED living in the mobile home. I loved how the air conditioning vents were on the floor, so when Lori and I would come into the house dripping with sweat, we could put our tiny hineys down and share a vent to cool off. I’m sure the aroma was quite pleasant – a mixture of wet dog and girly dirt. One of my favorite memories is mom cleaning the house, with the windows open, her Christian record playing, and she would be wearing this brown, feathery cap (of sorts). Funny the things we remember from childhood, isn’t it? I also LOVED it when it rained. I loved hearing the rain hit the metal roof – talk about melodic! Loved it, and I wasn’t a big sleeper either.

I wonder what it was like in the ark during the 40 days and 40 nights of raining. Have you ever thought about what it was like to actually be in the ark with only seven other people and who-knows-how-many animals? I wonder if God helped to keep the animals sedated. If not, what a riot and mess! And after all, if God brought the animals from all over the earth, He can surely control their behavior inside the ark. Right? Sometimes we miss the amazing thing God has just done because we are too busy complaining about something else.

But even then, I think about the boat. It had no ventilation to speak of. No air conditioning. The smell of the animals and everything that goes along with them – if you know what I mean? Mucking their stalls every day. Feeding them every day. Watering them every day. Then there is the constant up and down motion of the waves and being tossed side to side. It’s enough to make the strongest of stomachs hurl. It’s probably a safe guess that none of them had ever been on a boat of that magnitude. Did they wonder, “How’s this big thing going to float?” or “We’re going to sink like a rock”.

Then it rained for 40 days. The pitter patter of raindrops may have sounded pleasant at first, but I bet they were drowned out by the animal sounds. At night, I bet they collapsed with exhaustion. I know I would, and I’m not near 500 years old.

The waters stayed for 150 days. Do you have 7 other people that you like enough to be cooped up with for 150 days? There would be no private conversations because at some point everyone would know what was going on. No privacy. No place to get out and breathe fresh air.

Something that just struck me…the ark didn’t have a rudder. It didn’t have a steering mechanism. Not that they would have known back then how crucial those two things are when navigating a ship of that magnitude. Personally, I’ve never been on a cruise, but I’d like to go on one. It’s on my bucket list. Okay, so I just checked, and Carnival Triumph is supposed to be 893 feet long, and this is one of the smaller vessels. The ark is about ½ the length. The Triumph is also 125’ wide. The ark was 45’. Can you imagine something that large and not having a way to steer it? But in order to steer it, you have to be able to SEE what is going on – whether electronically or visually, and you'd need to know where you were going and the mechanics of steering such a piece of work as the ark. Here’s the aha…Noah had absolutely no control in what happened to him and his family and those animals. That ark was in the palm of God’s hands. That reminded me of a verse in Proverbs 21:1, “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.”

When it is pouring down in your life and you feel like you are going under for the final time, rest assured you don’t need a rudder or steering mechanism because God. Is. In. Control. God is in control. Life may stink. It may be stressful. You may be tired of being tossed about back and forth. But you can know that God is on His throne. The One who has the hairs numbered on your head (Mt 10:30), the One who has ordained your footsteps, the One who has you hemmed you in from the front and the back (Ps 139:5), the One who created you fearfully and wonderfully (Ps139) – This One God will guard you. Trust Him.

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