Narrow is the Way


Or Captain Weary and the Well Doing

"There's a big coral head off the port bow!" Amy is on the foredeck with her polarized sunglasses on so she can better see through the glare of the sun to the hazards beneath the surface. We're creeping forward at about one knot under motor. She's hollering back to me at the helm, warning me of any potential dangers.

I ease Born Again slightly to starboard to avoid the coral, but being careful of the edge of the channel on that side.


We've been negotiating this pass for 20 minutes now, but it feels like an hour. In spite of waiting for high tide to enter the channel, my depth gauge shows less than two feet under the keel. We are one missed sand-bar, rock, or coral head away from real trouble. A mistake here, at best means grounding the boat and needing someone to pull us off, or at worst, a holed hull and the loss of our vessel along with everything we own.


"Looks clear to the harbor entrance!" Amy shouts back. I wipe the stinging sweat from my eyes again, and feel my shoulders begin to relax as the depth quickly plunges to a comfortable eight feet. 30 minutes later, we are launching the dinghy for a trip ashore, securely anchored in one of the most beautiful and protected harbors we've had the pleasure of visiting.


A loved one said something this past week that I resonated with. It went something like this: "Sometimes I just get so tired of doing the right thing. Every now and then I just want to take the easy way." I get it. I feel the same way at times. And honestly, being the weak, fleshly sinner that I am, there are times when I act on that feeling. But every time I do, I risk hitting that coral head.


There's a reason why Paul warns us in Galatians 6:9 not to grow weary of doing the right thing. It's because it's easy to grow weary of doing the right thing! Why is that? Because the right way is almost always the hardest way. It just get's tiring doing everything the hard way. At least that is how we look at it when we're weary.


The truth is a little different. What appears to be the hard way when we're weary, is actually the easy way in the end. It's all part of that "delaying gratification" aspect of following Jesus. Our maturity (spiritual or otherwise) is directly proportionate to our ability to delay gratification. To forgo something good or easy now, in favor of something even better later, is not only the crux of the Christian life, but is the key to a "successful" life even for unbelievers. The inability to do this is what leads to lifes greatest struggles: i.e. addiction, extra-marital affairs, unwanted pregnancies, etc, etc, etc...


The way into the best harbors is usually pretty narrow, and they can be difficult to navigate. In the story above, Amy and I could have saved ourselves a lot of work by anchoring outside the channel and never entering the harbor. That would certainly seem to be easier, until a squall comes up at 2 a.m. with 40 knot winds and eight foot seas. Now instead of enjoying a peaceful sleep in the protection of the harbor, we're pulling up anchor and trying desperately to get some distance between us and the shallow waters that the wind is furiously blowing us toward. Who's weary now? Which was really the hard way?


We all want to live our lives in a harbor. That is, we want the peace, serenity and protection that the harbor brings. Jesus is the Harbor. The way to Him is narrow and difficult, but totally worth it. The wide, easy way is actually more difficult in the end.


Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.


So where am I going with all of this, and what does any of it have to do with Amy and I's future sailing adventure?


First, I don't really know where I'm going with all of this. I've just been watching two of my favorite people in the world go through an incredibly difficult time this past week, and I love them so much, I feel as if I'm going through it with them. I guess I'm just trying to encourage them, myself, and anyone else who might need encouraged to keep fighting the good fight. Keep using the narrow gate.


They would not be going through any of it if they were not following Jesus with all their hearts. It is one of those rare situations where they could throw their hands in the air, walk away from the Christian life, and it would all be over. Sometimes storms rage even in the harbor. But once you've been there, you know it's still the safest place to be.


As for what this has to do with Amy and I's future sailing adventure? Absolutely nothing. The truth is, there's very little to write about in that regard. I've had people ask me recently if we have changed our minds about the whole thing because I haven't been writing about it, so I figured I'd better pump out another blog.


We are still very much planning on making the whole crazy plan happen. Frankly, there just isn't much to report on our progress that I think readers would find interesting.


I suppose I could list the 20 or so books I've read over the last few months on sailing, choosing the right sailboat, sailboat negotiating, sailboat inspecting, sailboat maintenance, cruising tips, storm tactics, navigation, etc.


Just some of the books I've devoured in the last few months. This doesn't include the one's on my desk at work, or the several I've read from my Kindle.

Or I could tell you how every time I get a bit farther into the necessary research for this venture, I find myself tweaking the schedule I laid out a few posts ago just a bit. But I'm pretty sure it will continue getting tweaked as I continue my research, so there's not much point.


Or I could share the countless hours I spend boat shopping on line, and how many times I've changed my mind on what the perfect boat for us would be.


I could also tell you about the money we're saving to make the whole thing happen. We're saving money more quickly than I imagined we could or would. We're saving so much that I keep wondering exactly where all that money was going before we started saving it!


The house is listed on Zillow and we've had a few folks come look, but nobody really serious. I've got a handshake deal on the sale of my entire woodworking shop. I've sold my fishing boat. I've sold a fair amount of instruments and other music gear. And Amy has sold a few household items that she was willing to part with earlier than she needed to. (Looking at this list of sold items, I just figured out where the money was going before we started saving it.)


Also, I'm trying not to neglect the spiritual preparations in the midst of all the financial, educational, and logistical demands, so I'm meeting with my pastor weekly to condition myself as much as possible for the ministry aspect of the road ahead. (Actually, I guess there are no roads where we're going - make that the sea ahead.)


And that's about all there is to report. As you can see, that would not have been enough content for a post on it's own, which is why I chose to share something a bit more personal in addition to this brief update.


I promise if there are any leaps forward in the plan, (i.e., the house sells, or we buy a boat) I will be writing about them. Otherwise, posts will be fewer and farther between than when I started this, and they will probably, like this post, contain some content not particularly having to do with sailing away into a Caribbean ministry adventure.


Maybe it's time to encourage Amy to write another post...all in favor, say "Ahoy!"!


As always, I would consider it a favor if you would like, share, and subscribe to the website.


Thanks for reading, and God bless you.