Tuesday, August 09, 2005
In my youth I worked for the Navy Civil(Silly) Service in a job that had me ride a forty-foot, diesel work boat. Getting to our work station was kinda fun, pounding as we did through the swells off San Clemente Island. When we reached our work station, however, they throttled the diesel engines back to an idle so the pilot could hold her against the current. Very quickly the boat began pitching and rolling in a peculiar, dizzying fashion. If that had been all I had to tolerate, I would have had a bit of seasickness and been able to work through it. But it wasn't. Shortly after we hove to, the wind began coming over the transom, along with the most obnoxious, black diesel smoke. Of course there was no staying out of its way, since two exhaust ports came through the transom, spreading the smoke in a perfectly even pall over the whole boat. I must have been grayer than the diesel smoke, since the other workers just let me puke my guts over the side, rather than trying to make me hold my own on the team. But I've always had a hard time with motion sickness. Even now, if I try to read a map while riding shotgun, I turn various shades of green and quit having fun right away. One might reasonably wonder how this ties in with James 1:5-8. It's in the waves that the wind blows at will. While I believe better than this, when I pray I can't help feeling that if it were anyone else praying, the answer would already be in the wind. But because I am a man of wavering faith, the wind just blows me around like the waves. Part of my self-concept places me in that select group of people who can't expect answers to prayer, with the mass murderers and cereal rapists. Why do I believe that, despite Jesus' gracious love, I don't qualify for answers to my prayers? As I said, I know better, but I don't feel what I know. I'm always the first one to council others about not buying into emotion's shifting sands and blowing waves. I completely believe everything the Bible says about God, and what He did through Jesus. Yet, when it comes to myself that wonderful advice just doesn't seem to apply. I continually pray that God will pick up the challenge of my wavering faith and drive a spike through it, into Jesus' cross. But whether or not that ever happens I will still praise Him with all of my being, and serve Him as best I can.