Only in Dry Dock… Never at Sea

by DanWolgemuth on March 15, 2013

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
(Psalm 139:17)

 As Mary and I wandered the roads on the north bank of Oahu, Hawaii, I couldn’t help but notice the many boats in dry dock along our route.  These were boats that appeared to be perched in readiness for the opportunity to explore the wet frontier that was just a short distance away.

I was struck by the size of these boats that rested on trailers in anticipation.  They looked large, and sometimes even huge in the parking areas they occupied.

But a short time later, as Mary and I walked the soft sand beaches on the north shore, we spotted a boat or two of similar size pressing into a strong wind.  We watched as these vessels lurched and pitched into the waves.

Somehow, context shrank the size of the boats.  The Pacific Ocean had a great deal to say about just how big these boats were.

The picture nearly produced whiplash.  My life, when perched proudly out of context, can seem large and important.  I can occupy at least two parking spaces at the local marina… but when my life is placed “in context,” when I understand the placement of my 80-year lifespan against the massive, beautiful, awesome and endless ocean of God’s power, plans and love… I don’t simply shrink, I disappear.  Not into oblivion, mind you, but into an appropriate, humbling, worship-filled journey of life.

In the vessel of life, the one that I occupy, I can explore the matchless depths, and sail that widest sea of God’s amazing world… what glorious joy, what transcendent wonder, what incredible adventure, what humbling privilege.  Never safe, but always good.

On land, I’m bigger, more imposing, more noticeable… but only in the parking lot.  Only in dry dock.  Only compared to other ships that are as confined and stationary as I am. I’m safer there, but without purpose, or life… or hope.  I am defying the very reason I was created.  Making much of me was never the plan.  It is essentially naming me to be captain of a ship going nowhere.

The boundless ocean of God’s calling awaits.  I will never successfully sail it by making little of this ocean.  I don’t become a better sailor by ignoring or disputing or defying or resenting the sea.  I sail well when I make much of the ocean.  Respect not conquest.

Vast as the ocean is my King.  To sail upon Him is a mercy and a privilege.  The waves, the roll, the power are but a reminder that I will not master this ocean; I will simply, faithfully, respectfully explore a tiny fraction of who and what He is. 

Buffeted, but at sea.  For this I gladly leave the grandeur of the parking lot.

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