Sails to the Wind

“I am seeing more and more that we begin to learn what it is to walk by faith when we learn to spread out all that is against us:  all our physical weakness, loss of mental power, spiritual inability – all that is against us inwardly and outwardly – as sails to the wind and expect them to be vehicles for the power of Christ to rest upon us.  It is so simple and self-evident – but so long in the learning!”    Diary – 22 August 1902

Small vessel, large body of water.  Clear sea, blue skies, and a mountain view.  Sailing is smooth in calm weather but all that is needed to put that fragile craft at risk is a gust of wind from a sudden squall.

Small vessel, large body of water – a perfect picture of my vulnerability to the storms that assail me – outwardly or inwardly.  “Physical weakness. . .  loss of mental powers. . . spiritual inability. . . .”  Any of these could be enough to capsize the craft of my fragile self.  More often it is all the above that conspire to my collapse – each swell or wave converging in force:  my physical state affecting my mental and emotional state, taking its toll on my spiritual well being.

Yet, within this very picture of vulnerability is the solution for survival.  My knee-jerk response to the waves that buffet me is varied:  recoil, resist, fight back, cave in.  The antidote that Lilias presents, however, is straight from Scripture:  take all that is against us – inner and outer – and hold them up as “sails” for God to empower.  His “power is made perfect in weakness.”  An exchange:  my weakness for God’s power.

What is “against” me?  At start, I have certain physical limitations which invariably takes its toll on other areas of my life – my state of mind, my emotions.  And there are the outward forces which, like those summer squalls, come unexpectedly, often defeating me if not in body in soul.  I must take all that is against me – inwardly and outwardly – and spread my weaknesses as sails for God’s power.

What might this look like for another?  The particulars will be individual:  physical weakness  (sleeplessness from night shifts with an infant, chronic pain, a permanent disability) – sails for God’s power. . .  loss of mental powers (relentless work pressures, pressing demands with studies, financial stress, depression ) – sails for God’s power. . .  spiritual inability (character deficiencies, addictions, doubt, moral temptation even failure) – sails for God’s power. . . .

Storms beyond our control assail us throughout life.  We pray the plight of the Breton fisherman:

“Lord, Your sea is so vast,

and my little boat is small.


God answers:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

(Drawing from 1877 pocket sketchbook:  France/Switzerland/Venice)

This entry was posted in strength, weakness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sails to the Wind

  1. Darcy says:

    A needed breath of fresh air, and an encouragement. Thanks, Miriam!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s