Bailing Water in a Sinking Boat

Does it feel like you’re sitting in a sinking boat? Do you feel like no matter how hard you bail water, the boat continues to go down?   If so, then this blog is for you.

How’d I get in this mess?

Life can be messy. Sometimes we make our own mess; sometimes we inherit the mess others make. So it’s only natural to ask “How did I get in this mess?” from time to time.

There’s a story in the Bible of a time when Jesus was crossing over the Sea of Galilee. He took his disciples with him in a fishing boat. A great storm arose while they were in the boat. Jesus is fast asleep in the back of the boat while these experienced fishermen start to navigate their way through the storm. But this is no ordinary storm… It’s the kind of storm that the governor flies across in his helicopter to survey the damage, the kind of storm that you see on the evening news. In other words, this is deadly.

These experienced fishermen start to bail water out of the boat as fast as they can. No matter how fast they bail, the boat takes on more and more water. Eventually, it becomes pretty obvious, this boat is going down!

Do you feel like that right now? Do you feel like your boat is sinking? Is your marriage falling apart around you? Are your teenage children going wayward right before your eyes? Is your financial situation sinking? Are you about to lose your job, and there’s nothing you can do about it? That’s what it feels like to be in a sinking boat bailing water as hard as you can. It’s miserable!

How do I get out of this mess?

When your ship is sinking it’s natural to wonder how you got in this mess — but the more pressing question is, “How do I get out of this mess?” Human nature drives all of us to look for the escape door when it starts to get difficult. We want to find the quickest way out of the storm possible. Because the storm is difficult and dangerous, it’s natural to just want out of the storm. But that might be a mistake…

You see in the story from Luke 8:24-25 the disciples awaken Jesus and ask him to get them out of the storm. They are scared, and you would be too. But this is an opportunity to put their faith to the test. This is an opportunity to see Jesus at work. The disciples missed this opportunity in a bad way!

Be careful that you don’t get so focused on getting out of the storms of life that you miss the opportunity to see God at work during the storms.

Who’s in charge of this mess?

As crazy and as dangerous as the storm was, the disciples had the answer to their problems sleeping in the back of the boat. They totally missed it! I think this is what disappointed Jesus so much. I don’t think he was frustrated that they were trying to bail water out of the boat. I think it was only natural that they would be scared. I think Jesus was frustrated that they didn’t see him as the solution to the problem. They were trying to find their own way out of the storm.

Do you look to Jesus as the solution to your problems or do you try to work your way out on your own effort? Are you trying to tackle the family or the finance issues all by yourself, or are you willing to turn them over to Jesus? If he has the power to calm the wind and the waves, he has the ability to get you through the storms of life.

Don’t run away from the storms of life…trust Jesus to get you through those storms. Sometimes Jesus invites us INTO the storms of life so that he can show us his power THROUGH the storms.

Further reading