Man in the Ocean
Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down its tongue with a rope?
Can you put a cord through its nose
or pierce its jaw with a hook?
Will it keep begging you for mercy?
Will it speak to you with gentle words?
Will it make an agreement with you
for you to take it as your slave for life?
Can you make a pet of it like a bird
or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
Will traders barter for it?
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
Can you fill its hide with harpoons
or its head with fishing spears?
If you lay a hand on it,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
- Job 41:1-8 (NIV)
I had a good talk with a spiritual mentor of mine recently. I was confessing that I sometimes feel crushed by the amount of leadership that I have. These feelings of inadequacy make me feel that work is not fun and that everything is focused on performance. This in turn affects my motivation. Ultimately, this leads to feelings of anxiety and stress that undermine my ability to do my job.
I’m lucky that I called this mentor because he grilled into me. He told me that I can choose one of two ways to live: 1) always living by circumstances, trying to minimize areas of pain and maximize areas of comfort or 2) put my faith in our God, and accept his plans as our own.
I thought about what this meant in my life and journaled the following:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
- James 1:2-3 (NIV)
Lord, I confess that I have duplicity in my heart. Publicly, I acknowledge the vision that you gave me of being a man who endures trials through his faith. This is the person whom I at one point was so excited to become that I jumped the gun and quit my job. That person would be a James 1 man, excited by the thought of being with you in the ocean and knowing that he is living with your purpose. A man who sails the oceans.
“If we claim to have fellowship with him, and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”
- 1 John 1:6 (NIV)
Privately, I have a streak of wickedness that wants to maximize comfort and minimize pain. This spirit wants to control me, to control others, and to lead me straight to being devoured. This person comes out when I complain about my job and find refuge in prodigious leisure time. I am not saying that leisure is bad, but when leisure becomes a hideout from having to deal with responsibility things can get worse. I become a person who is centered on himself, always calculating his every move and making sure that it helps himself. This man is a river man, always maneuvering to maximize a stream.
The river life is an appealing one. You can catch fish in the river, even some pretty large ones. You won’t really have to paddle. However, you will constantly be watching your boat to make sure that you are staying well away from rocks and from banks on either side.
The ocean life is a scary one. There are giant waves that can crush you, and you must learn to be out at sea for a very long time. But it is in the ocean that we can catch enormous fish, whales, and to discover new lands.
- Stock photo, Courtesy of Jahoo Clouseau