The trip was one of the most exciting adventures I have ever undertaken. I was on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway for three and a half days. I was currently on the Okeechobee Waterway working my way across the state. The end of the journey was near. In three short days I would reach home. The following morning I made my way through the Port Mayaka lock and into Lake Okeechobee. Taking the rim route along the south border of the lake, I carefully navigated with GPS using a digital chart, following the marked channel on the map. Without warning I felt the keel strike a rock and then another. With a sickening grind, the boat lurched to a stop. I was stuck. I had grounded the vessel. I was greatly confused. I had followed the chart. How could I be grounded? I tried unsuccessfully to free the vessel, but it would not move.
I later found out from a local captain that the digital chart I was following had mismarked the channel. I had done everything I could to navigate the water safely. He said many other sailboats had gone aground in the same area. Without the channel marked correctly, it was just a matter of time before I grounded.
I called a tow boat to pull me off. In the process of pulling the boat off the rocks, the rudder post bent. As soon as I was free of the rocks, I tried the steering wheel, but it bound when I tried to turn it. I decided to have the boat towed back to a marina on the eastern branch of the waterway, about twelve miles back in Indiantown. At the marina, we pulled the boat out of the water to inspect the damage. It was bad. The rudder was severely damaged. The trip home came to a grinding halt.
They moved the boat to the work yard to see what was needed for the repair. I called a friend to come pick me up and take me home. It was a welcome sight to see his face. As we drove home we talked about the peace God had given me in spite of the chaos.
Now remember, the day before I had posted the blog about God’s owning everything. The entire trip, I felt a clear awareness of the presence of God. I saw his hand at work on a daily basis. Even when the boat grounded, I had a peace in knowing he was near. He had been with me through the entire trip, and he was still with me when I grounded.
At home, I took a day to get some much needed rest. Finally, with a cup of coffee, I enjoyed a long conversation with God. I am pleasantly surprised at my response to the entire situation. It is, in fact, God’s boat, not mine. We sat and talked about his boat and what he wanted to do with it. If he wants to provide the funds to repair it, it will cost this much. If he wants to put it in storage at the marina and repair it at some point in the future, it will cost this much. “You tell me what you want to do with your boat, and I will do what you want to do.” And I left it at that. I honestly do not care what he wants to do. What I care about is my relationship with him. The rest of my conversation with him was in regards to how much I love him and relish his love for me. He’s a good, good, father.
I am pleased with my response to this. I believe it is a test to see what I have learned. Do I really believe that God owns everything? Do I really believe that stewardship is the cure for anxiety? Yes, yes I do. And I am thrilled with the utter confidence that God is in complete control.
How exciting this has been. Not just the journey of the boat, but the journey my own relationship with God is taking. I am excited, content, full of joy and peace knowing he is fully in control. He is God, I am Tim. When he is ready for me to bring his boat to this side of the state, he will let me know. In the meantime, I have lots to do, and far more important things to pray about – influence, changed lives, relationship with God – the things that matter.
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