Sail at an angle

I want to share an excerpt from a book I’m reading, Wild Child, Waiting Mom–written by the mother when her daughter (with two young children) was once again making a bad decision about her life (and the life of her children).  The mother was very tempted to slide into depression–she and her husband had been praying for their daughter for years with seemingly no impact.

In the midst of these difficulties, emotional fatigue and ensuing discouragement were an ever-present danger.  For me during these excruciatingly painful days in Ithaca, I made a conscious decision to take my eyes off my problems and fix them on the Lord.

I clung to an analogy that Dan [her husband who was a pastor] had taught while we worked in Fort Wilderness in Wisconsin.  Several times Dan had the opportunity to teach Bible lessons on a weeklong sailing junket, and I was privileged to go along.

One day when the wind was very strong, Dan asked the captain just how his vessel (a three-mast schooner) could sail headlong into the winds blowing against us.  The captain explained that when a sailboat is sailing against a strong wind, the vessel can’t make progress, and, in fact, endangers itself.  What the ship has to do is to tack back and forth–sail at an angle, creating a vacuum on the back side of the sail that actually pulls the ship forward.

Dan has used this analogy many times in his teaching, applying it to the hardships in life.  Gleaned from our 20-year journey of the harsh winds of Wendi’s rebellion, we can speak with assurance–this works.

Dan expresses it this way: Don’t face directly into the problem, but rather, when adverse winds arise, just turn your mind toward the Lord.  Then, “as the troubles come toward you, let them just whip on by. As they do, it will create that pull toward God.  In that way the trials of life will pull you toward the Lord.  Learn how to tack as you sail spiritually against the wind.”

Turning my eyes toward the Lord took my eyes off the problem and helped me actually make progress in my spiritual life-journey instead of being “blown away.”  (Karilee Hayden, Wild Child, Waiting Mom, Finding Hope in the Midst of Heartache, pp. 209-210)