Archive for November, 2020

Becalmed? Be calm.

November 8, 2020

[Sailing. Unable to move through lack of wind]

Right now we are in a season which feels somewhat as if we are a boat with the sail up but there is no wind.

When there is no wind at all the people on a sailing boat might feel powerless and impatient, maybe even frustrated. Those who believe in God might think of the Bible account that refers to Jesus in the storm when he commanded the wind and the waves and afterward they exclaimed “even the wind and the waves obey him!” [Matthew chapter 8]

 In our situation we want Him to make the wind blow into our sail right now!

A few weeks ago, the leaders of a Christian community that I am part of, met to pray and listen to God. Over the past two years we have been challenged to ‘lay down’ all that the community had been doing, and to wait on God for a new thing to emerge. As we prayed I had a clear sense initially that God was simply saying, “You have been drifting.” I immediately felt some defensiveness within me, as my own instinct is to admire action and progress. To me, being described as ‘drifting’ is very negative. I immediately felt that God started to expand on this idea and I had the impression of being in a sailing boat when there is no wind at all – absolute calm.

If you have ever experienced being in a boat with the sail up and the air being still, you will know that powerlessness and lack of a sense of control. In fact, all you can do is paddle, or if you have one, start a motor!

I felt God started to speak to me with an encouragement: He has caused the wind to stop and He has caused us to “drift under the influence of the currents away from previous assumptions, commitments, and norms.” This has been His deliberate and gentle repositioning and realigning. We mayhave felt that we have been drifting, but actually the currents of the water represent His sovereign leading in our circumstances and events. God himself has been moving us away from what was ‘normal’ to a new outlook and new position.

At this moment, the temptation is to paddle or start a motor – this would be human effort: To do something! To get back in control, and be able to direct the boat. However, We need to trust Him.

I felt God quietly making me aware that as soon as He causes the wind to blow, the boat will immediately start to move, and we will be underway, able to steer and make progress. This will be His timing. Anyone who has been in a becalmed sailing boat will know that as soon as the slightest breeze begins, the boat can start to be directed and move forward. We need patience and trust. [Isaiah 30:15]

Right now, there is a sense of the wind having dropped and we feel powerless. Some examples of this: The Coronavirus and Covid has brought so many aspects of life to a halt; The stand off between China and the West seems to be stuck: The Brexit experience since the UK referendum four and a half years ago seems to have paralysed UK politics. There has been a lot of heated discussion on the boat, but very little progress for the nation! The USA elections are another example. Whatever anyone’s opinion on the result of the USA presidential vote, right now the process is somewhat becalmed – stuck – with many on both sides feeling like the wind has been taken out of their sails.

This is a time to acknowledge that God is Sovereign. This means that even when there is no wind in our sails, His currents which are deep and unseen, are moving us to a new position, a new outlook and new situation. God is far from inactive or passive in all this.

The great encouragement through all this is that we await just the slightest breeze…

I sense that the breeze is about to blow. [Habakkuk 1v5]