My husband and I have struggled mightily to accept his Parkinson's diagnosis, along with the sudden up-ending of his career. Though we haven't stopped asking Father for Randy's total and complete healing, we have been taking baby steps forward in an attempt to gain our footing on the slippery deck of our new normal.
The Lord in His kindness has given us a prophetic picture of hope for our anchor. You may have guessed it by now, the picture we see is of a sailboat adrift on the glassy sea. Randy and I both are present on this boat. I am seated in the back on a bench while my dear sun-tanned feet man, Randy, is at the front with a man.
Who is this man on our boat? He appears to be a friend.
The first time I saw this picture in my mind, it delighted me with peace and joy. I mean who wouldn't want to be enjoying a sailboat adventure? There were no dark storm clouds or turbulent waves visible in my picture. I seemed to be enjoying a beautiful sunny day on the water!
As I looked up to see my STFM at the front and wondered out loud why we weren't going anywhere, the other man turned toward me and spoke simple words, "I'm teaching him how to sail." Immediately I recognized this instructor as none other than Jesus!
The picture and the words spoke such hope to my heart and mind. I realized as I pondered the picture that we are not alone. Jesus, Creator of sea, wind, and waves, is in the boat!* As I shared the picture with Randy, he began to see it too.
The sailboat has become a picture through which we pray. Getting to share the imagery has given us a common belief we have not been forsaken and inspires both of us to hold onto hope like an anchor. It is this hope-anchor which has kept us from drifting too far into dangerous waters of doubt.
We've both grown impatient with the learning curve. However, STFM is usually feeling fully engaged in learning how to sail when I am beginning to panic about the water pooling around my feet. At other times, I am cheering him on when he feels ready to throw the ropes overboard, ditch the sail and begin paddling to shore. We've both raised a white flag of surrender from time to time, and have cried out for mercy to the Lord on a number of occasions due to our sometimes random feelings of defeat.
Just in the last month, we've received a life-giving revelation about our sailboat. One day, STFM asked me if I can see a motor on my sailboat. I told him, "No motor, just a sail." He muttered something about how much he wanted to trade the sail for a motor. I giggled but did ask the Lord to not let my STFM lose heart in learning to sail.
Within a few days, I was enjoying coffee with a friend, who has been a tremendous coach on my journey with Jesus. I enthusiastically explained the sailboat picture which I had attempted to sketch in my journal. Stick figures!
She listened intently, quietly - as she always does - while I prattle on. After a while, she spoke a quiet question of reflection, "You know what's required to sail, don't you?" Anticipating, I asked for the answer. "Wind! And you know Who is Wind...?"
Of course, how could I have not seen it before? All the other aspects of sailing can be done in the flesh. However, the only way a boat can move through the water is for the sails to fill with wind, and we can't manufacture wind. We're waiting for The Wind.
*Luke 8:22-25 ESV