My husband preached a sermon yesterday that really spoke to me. It began like this:
“One of the shows I watch is called Deadliest Catch. It’s about several boats that are part of the crab fishing fleet in the Bering Sea in Alaska. These are men who go out for weeks and sometimes months on end to battle some of the worst weather in the world to catch crab. The water is so cold that if you go overboard, there is basically no way to get you back on board before you get hypothermia and drown. People working on crab boats in the Bering Sea are regularly injured or killed. It is called the most dangerous job in the world.
"There are some boats that function like clockwork and some that are completely disorganized. The thing that makes all the difference between the two types of boats is the captain and whether or not the crew listens to him and respects what he says. There are some crews that respect their captain and listen to what he has to say, and there are some crews that second-guess and complain about what their captain says. Which boat do you think operates more smoothly?
"There is one boat named the Northwestern and it is captained by a man named Sig Hansen. He is a veteran captain and has been very successful for a long time. They were pulling in one of their strings of pots that they had set out, and every pot was full of hundreds of crab. The men were celebrating, knowing that lots of crab means lots of money, and that the faster they catch them, the sooner they get to go home. The normal thing to do when you’re catching a lot of crab is to put the crab pots right back where they were. But this time the captain told the crew to stack the pots on the deck of the boat because they were moving. They weren’t overly happy but they said, 'He’s the captain; I guess he knows what he's doing.' And he did. When they showed the wheelhouse where the captain sits you can see that he has all sorts of information he is getting. He has weather and sea condition reports that come in. He has radar screens and other information that lets him know what is happening. What he knew was that there was a storm coming and that the ice pack was moving down toward them, and if they had simply reset the pots, then in a matter of a few hours they would not be able to get back to them.
"The main difference between the boats that work well and are successful and the boats that struggle is that the crews of the successful boats understand that the captain has the big-picture view. He is able to see and understand things that they can’t understand from their place on the deck, doing their jobs. When the people with limited information start to question the person with the big-picture view, things fall apart pretty quickly.
"It can be that way in the church sometimes. It is easy to come to church and talk about Jesus and do what we do in our limited understanding. But it is a whole lot harder to let Him be the captain and to really listen to Him and let Him lead us into something that fits into His bigger picture and bigger plan for us.”
(By Seth Morley)
There is a circumstance in my life that I’ve been asking God to change for awhile now. I keep waiting. And while I wait I keep telling God that I trust Him…but sometimes the pain of not being in control of my life bubbles up to the surface. I know God is doing what He thinks is best. But that doesn’t mean I like it!
Seth’s message really spoke to me. I know I have limited information. God sees the Big Picture. I need to keep faithfully “stacking crab pots on the deck” because that’s what He wants me to do right now. Maybe one day things will make more sense and I will see what He was up to during this hard season.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
And sometimes we just need other crew members to encourage us. Right after church yesterday, my friend was walking away down the hall and quickly asked me how things were going. So I said, “Actually I have a prayer request.” So she stopped. And came back.
We don't always stop to listen, do we? Sometimes we just keep walking, because we’re busy and we didn’t really want to hear the answer to how the other person was doing. But this friend stopped. And she came back. And then she really listened to me. And she let me cry right there in the hallway. And she reminded me that we often don’t know the powerful impact we are having on others during the daily task of serving and working and being obedient to God. She reminded me that I’m doing important work. She said she would add my name to her prayer list.
And I went away feeling so grateful. I just needed someone to tell me that my hard work is not fruitless. And I needed someone to remind me to just keep going. It was powerful for me.
Do we do that often enough? Do we stop long enough to really listen? Do we take the time to tell someone else that what they are doing matters and that nothing done for the Lord is ever wasted?
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Yesterday afternoon I went to my bedroom and got on my knees. I cried. I told God that if He’s not going to change my circumstances, I believe that He can change me. “I believe You can give me joy in this. I believe You can give me patience. I believe You can change this heart of mine that has been struggling with this so long. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.”
And I asked God if there was anything He wanted to tell me. Immediately one name came to mind. God impressed this upon my heart: This is the person that needs your love in this season. This is one reason why you’re in this place. This is what I want you to do. Love that person.
And I cried harder. Because I don’t like that person! I want that person to just go away.
But God said, “Love.”
Are you in a season where you have to trust God because He hasn't answered your prayers the way you hoped?
In her Bible study called Finding I AM, Lysa Terkeurst wrote: "Perhaps, though, [God] is leading me and loving me by saying 'no,' or 'not yet.' I know, this is hard, but what if God's plan is to change us through this before He changes our circumstances in this?"
He is the Captain.
Will you trust that he sees the Big Picture and that He knows what He's doing?