The captain pondered his problem as he tried to keep his boat on course in the storm. He knew that his ship couldn’t survive much longer at sea in the gale force conditions but it was also pitch black, apart from the occasional flashes of lightning, and so he couldn’t see what was ahead.
The captain knew that if he stayed at sea that his boat would sink but he also knew that on the way to land that he could hit rocks and his boat would sink.
He was in a no win situation and so he had decided to take a chance on heading to shore.
The captain was sinking deeper into despair when he saw the light and he turned his boat towards it. As he moved closer he realized that he could see a lighthouse and he remembered the stories that he had heard about the island he was heading towards. The island was surrounded by dangerous rocks and so a lighthouse had been placed in the only safe landing place so that ships could sail safely in.
As the reality of the lighthouse sunk in he shouted for joy.
He was no longer alone, he had the light to guide him and to keep him safe.
He was no longer afraid, because he knew that the light would guide him safely to shore.
A few minutes later and the captain could see the shoreline around the lighthouse but that is when he also began to hear the music. He strained to hear and realized it was coming from further along the shore and so he steered towards it. As the boat moved forward, the music got louder and as the music got louder, the light was forgotten.
The captain was mesmerized by the music and he looked ahead to see where it was coming from. Suddenly, there was a flash of lightning and fear gripped the captain’s heart as he saw rocks dead ahead. The captain swore and he began to turn the wheel as fast as he could and the boat changed course. The captain looked around him for the lighthouse and when he saw it he set course for it once again.
The captain was furious with himself, but he was also relieved that he was somehow safely back on course.
The boat lurched forwards and the closer that he got to the light, the safer the captain felt.
Then the captain heard a voice. ‘Ahoy there’ came a shout from his starboard bow.
‘Follow me’ shouted the person on the nearby boat, ‘I know the way’.
The captain was ecstatic because not only did he have the lighthouse but he now had another boat to follow.
Then the captain realized that the boat in front was heading away from the lighthouse and he had a dilemma, what should he do?
Following the light to safety felt sensible but the other person said that they knew the way and so the captain turned to follow them. Several minutes later there was a sickening sound of splintering wood and the boat in front began to sink. The waves were pushing the captain’s boat closer to the same rock and he turned his wheel until he was heading away again.
This time he followed the light all the way to shore.
When you in a boat following a light to safety, you need to follow it wholeheartedly otherwise it is of no help to you.
I follow Jesus and one of the things that I think that God is trying to teach me is that I need to follow him wholeheartedly. When we turn away from God and follow something else, we can’t blame him for what happens.
People often say to me, ‘why did God cause that’ or ‘why did God allow that’?
A better question might be, ‘why didn’t we follow God’s guidance and teaching in that situation’? When things went pear shaped were we following God or our own bright ideas?
The Bible teaches us how to live and God’s Holy Spirit guides us, but we need to read, obey and follow.
Sometimes I am so encouraged by the way that God is at work in and through me and other times I realize that in the busyness of life that I am not giving God a second thought. I’ve realized at times, that I am floundering in life because I am going my own way rather than letting God lead me.
Kind of following Jesus most of the time is okay and better than nothing, but following Jesus wholeheartedly all of the time is life changing.
My prayer is that I would become a more consistent follower of Jesus.