Mark Beaird | Books

Sail On

Have you ever felt yourself in a storm, surrounded by what seemed to be an impossible situation? At that point, it is easy to loose heart and give up. However, it is also at that point that we need to hold steadfast to our hope in Jesus Christ knowing the faithfulness of the one who has promise.

I am reminded of the story I read of a poet who sailed with Columbus. The story goes that the poet, Joaquin Miller read the words which, day after day, Columbus has written in the log of his first voyage across the uncharted Atlantic. "This day we sailed on."

According to the account, "the poet got up and strode about the room, his eyes shining, his imagination on fire. 'This day we sailed on.' Storms had ravaged the ships; the Pinta had lost her rudder; the men were threatening mutiny. Conditions couldn't have been any worse, and Columbus himself must have been on the verge of despair. But he had set his course, and nothing could turn him from it. Through danger, darkness, hunger, panic, exhaustion, they sailed on.

What a magnificent epic of perseverance! The words made a litany in the poet's mind. 'Sail on! sail on!' The roar of the sea was in his ears, the sting of the spray on his cheeks. He stood beside Columbus and peered with him into the darkness, feeling his strength, feeling his steadfast purpose...

And Joaquin Miller wrote like a man possessed. The poem had to be written; no words ever came more spontaneously from a man's heart. An inspired tribute to the great navigator who refused to turn from his course, who firmly sailed on in the direction he knew to be right."

Often we face challenges in our lives that, though maybe they are less dramatic, they are nonetheless just as meaningful to us as the struggles of an explorer's journey. For many, life can be an uncertain voyage through hazardous and unsettling circumstances that leave them wondering what to do or which way to turn next. However, when we face such times it is good to know that our faith in Christ can be a real help in the time of need.

It is God's Word that assures us that we can "sail on" courageously without allowing fear to overcome and paralyze us. Paul assures us that, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity (or fear), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

We can be determined and confident on our journey knowing that we will succeed because we know that God is with us. The writer of Hebrews also reminds us that, "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV Knowing the security and safety in Jesus Christ that we enjoy can have a great calming effect on our troubled minds.

The reason for our confidence in God is that His word and our past experiences has taught many that God will finish what He starts in a person's life. For those who know the faithfulness of God, this is why they "sail on" in times of trouble. For those who have not yet learned of the faithfulness of God and the assurance that it brings, allow me to encourage you to give Jesus Christ an opportunity to help you in your time of trouble. Read His promises. Take your concerns to Him in prayer and stay on course with Him in your life.

The words of Joaquin Miller's poem echo a great truth.

"What shall we do when all hope is gone?"
"The words leapt like a leaping sword:"
"Sail On! Sail On! Sail On!"

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