It’s getting into the season where my thoughts start to turn to sailing again. Not the whooshing about on the waves with the wind in your hair (yes I know, “What hair?”) and ducking to avoid the boom type of sailing (it hurts more without hair if you get it wrong). I mean the more sedate and gentle sailing where you stand on the shore and wiggle joysticks on a radio control unit to adjust the settings on a radio controlled yacht out on the water.
It is very relaxing and enjoyable as a pastime, but it’s difficult to explain why that is without you experiencing it for yourself. You still have to understand the dynamics of sailing, you are still at the mercy of the wind and waves, yet there is still the satisfaction of controlling the boat: seeing how fast you can go, how close to the wind you can sail, how accurately you can turn and so on.
It’s not all plain sailing however. It becomes more complicated by the presence of other boats on the water. It becomes more difficult in stronger wind conditions and the boat is heeling rather spectacularly. It is more fraught when you know that there are submerged hazards that can snag the boat. And what if the batteries run out?
I have sailed in full sized yachts and I feel greater anxiety with the model than when I am in a boat. I think it is because I am not in the yacht. If I am in a boat there is a greater sense of control, whereas with the model if something goes wrong I may have to wade out and retrieve the stricken vessel. It won’t be the end of the world but it will be embarrassing, uncomfortable and wet.
I wonder if God has the same feeling about us. Not that we are remotely controlled – he created us with the freedom and autonomy to do what we want – but does he feel anxiety about us, his beloved ones, when we are distant, remote, not in direct contact, out of reach?
Except that if we are believers he is also ‘on board’. His Spirit is in us. The autonomy is not diminished, but when we choose to listen to him and accept his help he participates in our life as much as we will allow him to.
So perhaps the problem is not so much that I can be distant, remote or not in direct contact. It’s more a question of the occasional mutiny.
Be blessed, be a blessing