What’s floating your boat today? Is it smooth sailing or are you caught in rough waters? Whatever your present circumstances, reach out in trust to The Lord and He will set you on the right course.
A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
John 6:18-20 – NIV
Amidst the wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the city of Sault Ste. Marie (pronounced “Soo”) stands vigil over the shores of Whitefish Bay, the huge body of water that serves as a natural border between Ontario, Canada and the United States. Founded by the French in 1668, Sault Ste. Marie is the oldest city in Michigan and the third oldest in the United States. Even more notable, the city has a twin sister, residing just across the International Bridge where Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario watches the waters of Whitefish Bay from its northern vantage point.
Whitefish Bay is a critical shipping lane for travel through the Great Lakes. The bay marks the eastern shore of Lake Superior and receives ship traffic from as far away as Duluth, Minnesota. Loaded with products such as iron ore, the ships pass from Lake Superior into the St. Marys River, then proceed into Lake Huron and finally onto Lake Erie. These massive ships keep the waterways of the Great Lakes busy with commerce.
But it was not always this way. In fact, there was a day when there was no connection between Lake Superior and the Lower Great Lakes. While the waters of Lake Superior drain into the St. Marys River at the tip of Whitefish Bay, this passage was far from smooth. In fact, there is a 21 foot drop in elevation between the waters of Whitefish Bay and the river below. This change in elevation created an intense set of rapids that could not be negotiated by boat. There was no way through this set of obstacles, no safe passage.
In 1855, this obstacle was overcome. An intricate set of locks was created to traverse the rapids of the St. Marys River and accommodate for the change in elevation between the bay and the river. On our recent road trip, Eric and I toured these Soo Locks and I was amazed by the ingenuity of this invention.
The system of locks fill to the height of the water level of Whitefish Bay. A ship enters the lock at the maximum water level and the lock gates close, trapping the ship inside the lock. Gradually, water is pumped out of the lock until the water level is consistent with that of the river. The lock gates then open and the ship exits smoothly on its journey to Lake Huron.
Thanks to the marvels of modern engineering, problem solved, obstacle overcome. If only life were so easy to navigate. If only we could fix the problems of this world with an ingenious solution. While man has certainly engineered amazing achievements, there are still so many obstacles in life that are not easily overcome, like sickness, like suffering, like heartache.
Adversity and affliction enter our lives without invitation. Obstacles appear in our path, regardless of our well ordered plans. There are diseases without cures. There are problems that seem insurmountable. Suffering does not cease just because we wish it too.
When problems pile up, we are easily overwhelmed. We fear there is no way out. Our coping skills feel insufficient to navigate the course. We are discouraged. We lose heart.
But God can make a way when there is no way. He has the power to shape our circumstances, to see us through our troubled waters. Sometimes, it just takes time. Sometimes, we have to wait.
In these waiting periods, we feel let down or forgotten, wondering when or if God will act. Doesn’t He notice our pain? Doesn’t He see our suffering? The short answer is “Yes”. Yes, He sees our struggles. He knows our turmoil. All the while, God is working, molding, shaping, solving the distresses of this difficult life. It’s just that some things simply take time to fix. Sometimes, we have to wait while God works.
As we struggle in deep water, it is often hard to see God’s Hand as it reaches out to us. That’s where trust must play its part.
Looking back on my journey through blindness, I recall so many challenging situations for which there seemed to be no answer. I often greeted such situations with anxiety and fear. Yet, today, from this vantage point, I can see how God was working all along the way to orchestrate my circumstances for my ultimate good. God was busy making a way where there seemed to be no way. I just had to wait while He worked.
What obstacles lie in your path today? What rough waters threaten to overtake you, to block your course? Place your trust in the One who can calm the sea, in the One who can silence the storm. For God can make a way where there is no way.
This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters…See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:16, 19 – NIV
O Lord Jesus, we are so weak. We are so easily discouraged. You know full well the heartache of this life. You are fully aware of the pain, the suffering, the struggles. Help us, Lord, as we wade through the rough waters. Grant us strength to weather the adversity. Help us to trust in You about everything, to banish doubt and fear from our minds. Lord, You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever. You will make a way where there is no way. Thank You, Lord, for Your Great Grace.