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Sea crossings

August 24, 2016
By Pastor Roger Lemke , Pine Island Eagle

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous has lived on Pine Island for almost eight years and has never gone fishing. At the urging of his wife and two visiting grandmas, he enlisted the services of a captain for a day of grouper fishing.

The weather was clear; the Gulf was calm. After a two-hour run, the captain baited the hooks. The two grandmas quickly dropped their lines to the bottom, but this man was getting a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. The seas were only about 2 feet in height, but soon he was on his knees heaving until he could heave no more.

Dreadfully sick, this man didn't care about his future, didn't care about the good time his wife, children and the two grandmas were having. He only wanted and fervently prayed that the good Lord would take him home to glory and remove him from his misery. Of course, he made it back to shore, weak, weary and utterly ashamed, swearing that he would never set foot on a boat again.

I imagine that when the Israelites looked at the Red Sea that they had similar feelings of despair. The Israelites were like cats not a water-loving species. When they looked to the sea they saw nothing but the waters of chaos, the place where danger lurked, where good things do not happen. Feeling trapped, their voices dripping with sarcasm, screamed at Moses: "Have you taken us here to die?" (Ex. 14:11). At the edge of the Red Sea the Israelites had nothing. No vessel, ship, boat or raft. Then God said: "There's no way but Yahweh!" All they had was the power and presence of the one Lord God. And that, of course, was more than enough.

When we face sea crossings in our personal lives, it is so important to put our trust in the same thing that the Israelites did: the power and presence of the one Lord God. We make a fatal error when we try to make our sea crossing by ourselves. The promise of God to us is clear: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and they shall not overwhelm you" (Is. 43:2).

So we, like the ancient Israelites, can count on God's power and God's presence and God's steadfast love when we face our own sea crossings. The Lord promises to bring us through the waters of chaos and danger and to see us safely to the other side. Therefore, remember that whenever you are facing:

The sea crossing of unexpected challenges and responsibilities, God is there.

The sea crossing of a serious illness, with sadness and fear, and pain and exhaustion, God is there.

The sea crossing of a death with shock and anger and confusion and grief, God is there.

The sea crossing of a new relationship with feelings of excitement and hope and ever-present anxiety, God is there.

Through all these crossings, the Lord promises to be with us, giving us proper wind for our sails and nourishment for our spirits, and to always be at work for good in our lives. The sea is large and our boat is small, but with God we never sail alone.

Roger Lemke is pastor of Fishers of Men Lutheran Church. The church is at 10360 Stringfellow Road. Call 239-283-1170 for service times and/or additional information



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