I’ve been watching some yachts tacking around the bay in front of our house. For quite some time it seemed as if they were going no where. Their sails were drooping forlornly around their masts. They were trying to circle a buoy and return to Simon’s Town harbour, but instead they were listing drunkenly to one side and they certainly appeared to be “in the doldrums”. I knew they were desperately trying to position themselves to catch the wind. It must have been so frustrating – and exhausting – straining at the ropes with all their might. And going no-where.
Then, suddenly, one of them got it right – a sail billowed out like a sheet in the wind, and the yacht began to move forward … I could almost feel the sailors’ relief as they moved sweetly into position and started to glide smoothly away from their struggling friends. It was a dramatic moment when that sail caught the wind. The yacht looked completely different in every way.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that one’s spiritual life sometimes seems exactly like this regatta. Either just drifting slowly along, not caring about the pace, just satisfied to be afloat and moving. Or stuck in a vacuum, drifting aimlessly. Perhaps just keeping the mast upright takes all our strength. Or we desperately want to move forward, and we find ourselves working as hard as we can, and going no where.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:1) he says “… be filled with the Spirit”. We know that Jesus said we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. My Dad’s simple faith taught me that the most important spiritual matters are not complicated. Do you feel a desperate need for the Holy Spirit? Are you longing to “walk by the Spirit… be led by the Spirit … live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-25). Well – ask the Lord to teach you – start reading what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit (there’s lots in John chapters 14 – 16), and then read the Book of Acts, focusing on HOW people were filled with the Spirit, and what happened afterwards. Then – try Galatians chapter 5 … just reading God’s Word with a hungry heart invites the Holy Spirit to come and teach you.
In this process of reading His Word with a hungry heart, you are positioning yourself to catch the wind – and you will find yourself gliding forward with His wind filling your sails. I honestly believe that this is what God wants for us in this new season. He’s Covid-stopped the world for a reason, and I certainly want to position myself correctly to allow the Holy Spirit to direct me and carry me wherever He wants me to go.
(A big ‘thank you’ to Gavin Finlayson for allowing me to use this dramatic photo he took in the past few days.)