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The Journey: We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails

Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on

There is an old joke, “How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?” “CHANGE! Why do we have to change?” Change the name and the same can apply to you or many other individuals and groups.

Change is taking place all around us; whether we choose to embrace it or not is another story. Our daughter is getting ready to change a grade in elementary school and we already see signs of her acting like an older girl: the tone of her voice, vocabulary and the way she moves her hair.

We have two lovely members in our congregation. She is 94 years of age; he is 100. Wait for it. They are newlyweds! They married a few short years ago after both lost spouses. Their love, courage, laughter, friendship and ability to change and grow is an inspiration to us all!

That said, change to one person can bring about excitement and joy, but to another person, the very same change can cause anxiety and fearfulness.

When it comes to matters of change, I am reminded of the phrase, “We Can Not Direct the Wind, but We Can Adjust Our Sails.”

Our Christian tradition has a word for “adjusting our sails.” It is called metanoia. It means new and renewed ways of thinking, seeing, being and behaving.

These days we have many storm clouds that loom in our life; a healthy economy, a prosperous job market for recent college graduates, school debt, affordable and quality health care, good public schools. Perhaps the storm clouds are about family. Maybe a family member has become verbally, emotionally or physically abusive. Maybe our adult children didn’t grow up and become the independent and responsible adults we had hoped. Whatever the storm cloud in life, metanoia is possible.

The Bible tells a story when the disciples are with Jesus and they are in the midst of a storm at sea. We see the power of Jesus to still the storm, to rule over chaos, to bring a new day. Jesus is not a mere mortal enjoining us to keep calm and have faith. He is the one who disarms the very real powers of chaos and death and rules over them.

I share this biblical story as an indelible image of God at work in our lives and world who is active in creating peace. Even when we human beings can seem to be doing all we can to do the opposite.

Why is it that when God brings us to a new place in life, the journey is all too often not so smooth and easy?

We live in a world where quick fixes are offered at every turn. When it comes to matters of faith, God can seemingly work at the speed of a crock-pot, changing us from the inside out, in a world in desperate seeking of microwave solutions.

Opening our lives and trusting God deeper is walking by faith into metanoia – new and renewed ways of thinking, seeing, being and behaving.

We may not be able to direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.

Have a blessed week.

Daniel Christian is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah.

Tags: blog, change, journey

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