Leaky boats represent those moments in life when you feel alone in the troubles of your life. In those moments, you come to believe that no one will ever come to your rescue, and that you are on your own, bailing as hard as possible to stay afloat in an angry sea of grief, suffering, pain, rejection, and neglect. This is how I felt as a child who changed houses three times in four years, living with three different aunts and their children. In the first two houses, my sister and I were not wanted, so we were mistreated, a situation that a child cannot fully understand, but instinctively knows is not how God wishes your life to be.
So, I prayed, believing that eventually someone walking along the shoreline would hear our cries for help, and would be willing to save two little girls adrift in a leaky boat on an angry sea. It was like we were screaming that we were drowning and nobody was willing to jump into the waters and save us. But, when I had given up hope of ever finding a place of safety and refuge, my prayers were answered, and just in the nick of time. When I thought Jesus was not listening to me, a child, He was making a way and finding a solution, even as I thought we were alone.
In Mark 4:35-41, the disciples found themselves in the midst of a fierce storm, with high waves breaking into the boat, and the boat was filling with water. Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat. They went and woke Him up, asking, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” Jesus got up, and He commanded the wind and the waves, saying, “Silence! Be Still!” They obeyed him! He then asked his disciples, ” Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” It is a question that He is still asking His people today, as we experience leaky boats of all different types and think that He will let us drown. It ain’t gonna happen! (Yes, that’s bad English, but you get the point!)
Eventually, my sister and I went to live with my Aunt Ann, my father’s only sister, and found a place of peace and love. We slept five people to a bed, including my aunt, her youngest son, her daughter, my sister, and me. You learned to go the bed first, so you could choose the best spot in the bed. Aunt Ann whipped our butts when we needed it, but no more than she did her own children, which was different from the first two houses. In one house, my sister and I stood at the sink to eat, while our aunt and her children sat at a table. Even at age 11, I knew that wasn’t right.
Today, when troubles come and I feel like I am in that leaky boat again, I remember that God sees the problem, and that He is working it out, even when I am afraid that He is sleeping. Deuteronomy 31:8 states, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Hold on! Know that you are not bailing alone or in vain, because the One who loves you unfailingly will calm the angry sea, no matter how strong the wind or how tall are the waves. He still reigns supreme over heaven and earth.
Dear Heavenly Father,
There are a lot of people who feel like they are sailing in leaky boats, bailing hard, but not moving forward, in danger of drowning in the sea of pain, confusion, loss, grief, and dismay. Tonight, I pray that you will calm the sea and rebuke the wind for them, and then bring them into a safe port, a place of refuge and peace where they can find rest for their souls. Thank you for all the times you have save me from the leaky boats of my life. I stand in awe of You, precious Creator, Savior, and Comforter! In Jesus’s Name, Amen.