I was born in England so we often went on a ship to travel from Dover to Calais in France and then to Germany to visit my grandparents. This would have been impossible, if the ship only stayed in the harbour. One Christmas it was very stormy and the ships wouldn’t leave the harbour, but then one took the risk, so we could spend Christmas with my grandparents after all.
This picture reminds us to think of our life as a ship. We should do what we are built for and not stay in our safe and cosy harbour. It often seems a lot easier to stay where we are. We know the circumstances, we know what to do, we have a small risk. When God calls us, it usually means we shall leave our safe harbour.
Jesus has called every one of us. But not everybody has the same type of ship. Some go on a river, some are small fishermen boats, some are supposed to cross an ocean. We all have different challenges, suitable for our kind of ship. But there is one thing we all have in common. We don’t know what it is going to be like. We might get into trouble. We might meet a storm or other bad conditions. We will have to take a risk. And for sure, we won’t experience the joy of sailing, if we refuse the challenge to follow the calling.
If Jesus calls us to sail, he won’t let us alone. We find an encouraging story in the bible in Mark chapter 4, verses 35-41:
“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Jesus is sailing with us even when we think he is asleep. He is on board. This makes it possible for us to leave our safe harbour – to follow our calling.
The picture above shows a ship I once sailed on. Her name is “Vertrouwen”. This is Dutch and means “trust”. What a perfect name for a boat.
God calls us to sail, maybe into a new challenge in parish nursing. So leave the safe harbour and trust him, he will be with you!
Angela Glaser, M. A. Vis-à-vis/Parish Nursing coordinator and educator in Germany