The wind can be a huge inhibiting factor for the #1 pastime here in the Village – golf! It certainly is a different game when hitting a golf ball into a direct wind. And just let there be the slightest of sidespin on the ball, and the wind will accentuate the flight of the ball to the left or right. Some days it seems like every hole you play you have a head wind, no matter which way you turn.
For those new to central Arkansas, just up the road is a lake called Lake Maumelle. The lake was created as a water source for Little Rock and the surrounding areas. It has a ridgeline running its complete length on its southern shore. Because the lake lays in an east-west direction, and the wind coming over the ridgeline creates downward pressure on the lake, it is a sailing mecca for those who enjoy the sport in this part of the state. On windy days you can see many large sails on tiny boats zooming downwind on the lake. And then they turn, or “tack”, changing the direction of the boat into the wind as they zig zag back across the lake. I’ve tried sailing in the past and enjoy the downwind portion. But when it came time to tack back and forth, I lost all ability to make progress toward the starting point.
The majority of the disciples were fishermen. I sometimes have scratched my head and wondered how they could be so short-sighted in their behavior. When Peter jumped from the boat and walked on water, he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Then he cried out to Jesus to save him? Couldn’t this fisherman swim? Some say no, but there is evidence to the contrary in scripture following the resurrection.
So why did the disciples struggle in boats? When Jesus sent them across the Sea of Galilee, scripture tells us they struggled against the wind all night! Why didn’t they just “tack” and use the wind to their advantage? We will never know.
We are no different. How many times when we meet a brick wall, whether it’s a situation we’re trying to overcome, or a person who has a difference of opinion on a matter. We (or at least I will confess) think applying “head on” effort will break down the wall and we’ll be victorious. A lot of energy is expended when we try to muscle through the “wind.”
What we need to do is “tack” in the direction of Jesus. Just like when Jesus calmed the winds, the sea went still, and the disciples had a new focus. He can calm the winds of our lives in the same way when we focus on Him. Let’s all learn a lesson from the disciples and stop struggling against things on our own. Christ will give us a direction to “tack” when we give the struggle to Him in prayer.