Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Tuesday, March 14

Letting Go, Letting God

Usually a check of the weather would determine whether Iíd go sailing or stay ashore, but on one rare occasion a friend and I decided to spend the night on our small sailboat without checking. We anchored in a cove on Stockton Lake in Missouri.

Sometime during the night the wind came up and swung the boat 180 degrees on the anchor, bringing the boat close to a rocky shore. Shortly thereafter a storm with booming thunder and flashing lighting was all around us.

I had read enough about sailboats, which have a tall mast rising 20 feet or more above the top of the boat cabin, to know that remedies suggested to avoid a deadly lightning strike were largely lacking in certainty. For example, neither a chain hanging from the bottom of the mast over the side to ground the boat nor a ground wire built into the fiberglass and extending from the bottom of the mast to a large metal plate on the bottom of the boat (which our boat did have) were guaranteed to provide a satisfactory ground or lightning arrest. But, in case of lightning striking the mast and because of proper grounding, there might be a cone of safety created immediately below the mast. Thatís where we were sitting after putting on our life jackets.

The storm raged for what seemed like a long time. While many details of that night are clear after so many years, the one detail that stands out is that, after a short prayer for protection, I felt only an incredible calm.

I feel a sense of control in most situations and usually have confidence that I can fix whatever problems arise. In this case, I remember realizing that a lightning strike could be deadly. I knew better than to think swimming to shore in a lightning storm would be a good idea, not to mention Iíve never been a very good swimmer. Raising the sails in a storm to head for shore would have been dangerous as it would have meant crawling around topside with total exposure to the storm. I knew what I shouldnít do, but I also knew I had absolutely no way to guarantee a positive outcome. I turned it over to God, and then what I felt was absolute and utter calm. I didnít need to run through a to-do list or reason out a solution to the problem. All I had to do was just let God take care of things. Our safety was in Godís hands.

Iíve thought about this experience many times and shared it often with others. The words of Philippians 4:6-7 remind us: ďDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Ē

Michele Groves

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