Lent Post #9: Sailing Metaphors, Ministry & Life: Taking Course Corrections In Stride

When I was working at Princeton Hospital back in the summer of 2012, my supervisor used to have a particular saying that he was partial to using. An amateur sailor and someone who enjoyed fishing in his spare time, he frequently used fishing and sailing metaphors, and this one is no different. One day during supervision, he came out with this one: Sometimes, life is as we expect it, and sometimes, you need to adjust and do a course correction based on the way the wind blows.

Ever since hearing this phrase, it has stuck in the back of my mind, and has been some what of a reminder of the fact that as a faithful individual, my life is not my own, and therefore, I am not ultimately in control – in control of my call, where I end up geographically, what type of call I might land, etc. That type of message is extremely difficult for this control freak, but to frame it in terms of a gentle “course correction” feels far less frightening and more gentle. Or at least yields a bit of control to the God who is all-loving, caring, and knows me better than I know myself, right?

A few weeks ago, PTS hosted its last seminar for the year; this is a time for prospective students to come and preview the campus, as well as to spend time with the student hosts (myself included…) and ask questions regarding student life, classes, etc. One prospie asked a question to all of us hosts (who just happened to be seniors) regarding how we handled the unknown. I answered her saying that part of tackling the unknown was understanding that ultimately, God was in charge, and that if a course correction was necessary, God would be there to indicate the time and the direction. 

Part of ministry and living a life of faith in general involves living somewhere between comfort and course correction. This sounds rather unnerving, but really, it is extremely exciting, because it means that life is never fully lived sitting down. No opportunity for armchair Christianity here! The course correction is not meant to be scary, but it is meant to be an indication that God is there, constantly acting in life. The God who creates, who breathed life into Adam and Eve, who declared everything very good in Genesis, and who rested on the seventh day, is not the type of divine Father who simply created and then disappeared into the cosmos without a care for what might happen to His beloved. Rather, God continues to call on His creation, initiating course corrections (however inconvenient they may seem to us at times), bringing them into new professions, to new corners of creation, and challenging them to continue to seek after God. 

Challenging, huh? Well, maybe not. But for someone who needs a bit of time to adjust to change, and needs to sit in prayer over things, a course correction seems intimidating at times. But knowing that it is not just a random occurrence, but rather a work of the Spirit, and that ultimately, if I listen and make the change, it will work out wonderfully in the end. Nothing is forever, that much I have quickly found out, especially over the last year (bye electrical tissue, you will NOT be missed…EP joke…), and a life lived in faith will never be static – at least if you continue to look for the course corrections. 


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