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The Zig and Zag of the Journey of Faith


My very good friend, spiritual director and fellow author of this blog has been teaching me to sail for the past 6+ years. The last time we were together sailing on the waters of Lake Erie we had a beautiful headwind coming back into the dock.  My teacher will weigh in on this surely if I get the nuances of the image wrong, but suffice it to say a sailing vessel the size of Anemos cannot head directly into the wind with her sails up.  It is important to catch the wind in the sails and so a slight degree of falling off the wind has to happen in order to fill the sails with usable energy.  This is tacking. . .

According to Wikipedia , “Tack is the alignment of a sailing vessel with respect to the wind when moving upwind: that is, when the vessel’s bow is pointed within 90 degrees of the wind. If the wind is to starboard, the vessel is on “starboard tack”, and if to port, on “port tack”.”

Sailing novices such as myself might venture to call it zigzagging.

One of the first steps of the maturing spiritual life is recognizing that we are ON a spiritual journey.  Without any awareness that this life in Christ is a JOURNEY that begins at baptism, we simply just sit around, either waiting or not waiting for something to happen.  But when we acknowledge that we are on a life-long journey, well then that changes things completely.  A JOURNEY by its very nature has a beginning. . . steps along the way . . . changes in direction. . . occasionally a misstep where the journeyer gets lost. . . finding our way back on track. . . a detour here and there. . . and finally at the end of life there is the destination.  But along the way each step, each stop, each moment is a destination in and of itself!  A place to “Be.”  A place to find God.  A place to serve our neighbor.  A place to grow and stretch and become who God made us to be.  Sometimes we might be tempted to think that the journey is going to be a straight line path to the finish, like a foot race on the straightaway of the track or a 5K on a bike trail that follows a very straight railroad route.  But the longer the journey, the more twists and turns there inevitably will be.  Ever notice how traveling to some distant and rural towns that there simply is no fast and easy way to go?  You have to go through ever burg in between to arrive at the final destination!

The Journey of Faith
Image by ACL

So it is with this life of faith. . . this journey with Jesus Christ.  We can see the destination on the horizon line but there is no straight path to getting there!  As with the sailing vessel Anemos, she could not make it through the headwind straightaway to the dock without tacking port. . . sailing awhile.  . . then tacking starboard and repeating the process over and over again until she made it safely to the harbor.

Friends, do not fear the journey. . . keep your eyes on the destination and source of your life: Jesus your Savior.  Be patient with the zigs and zags of the faith journey.  Be easy on yourself when it takes longer than you sometimes want or expect it to take.  And know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Christ makes this journey with you and he has promised to NEVER EVER EVER leave you alone!


One Comment leave one →
  1. 5June2012 08:47

    Great explanation Pastor. It sure helps to know this on my journey. I have been on this zigzag alot but every turn is always good becasue God is at every turn, with us leading the way . Praise be to God ! Connie B

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