Life is an ocean. Vast. Deep. And powerful.
You float along this ocean, sunning yourself on the deck of your little boat on blissful days, and hiding for cover when storms rage.
Slowly the strip of land that marked the beginning of your passage slips from view. You become better acquainted with your vessel, learning how to ride the waves of life and survive the storms.
You sail further and further into the heart of this vast ocean of life. And then one day a startling question whispers to you as you sit alone on the deck of your boat. “Where am I headed?”
You hadn’t considered that when you set sail. You had only dreamed of adventure. You had only wanted to sail. To be free. To live.
You tell the question to leave you alone. But it haunts you, flitting through your mind at the oddest of times. And you still can’t answer it. You don’t know what lies beyond. You don’t even know where you are. You can’t go back to the shore you launched from. You’re on your own. You’re scared.
The sky begins to darken and a low rumble pierces the salty air. As the fiercest storm you’ve ever fought rages against you, the answer to the question strikes your heart like the bolts of lighting in the sky. “Where am I headed?”
Fear grips you as you realize that you are headed down. The waves are forcing your vessel lower and lower into the encompassing ocean. Yet you fight. Fight for the sake of life. Fight until your strength is all but gone, your boat all but sunk. Then you call for help.
The storm still rages, but an unexplained peace wraps around your heart as you feel strength returning to your limp body. You continue to fight. Fight for the sake of life. And slowly the waves begin to calm. The lightening stops, and you discover that the morning has come. It dawns in brilliant hues against the clear sky above.
The storm of the night before seems like a nightmare from your sleep. You almost excuse it as such. Yet you know it was real. You shudder at the thought of it. You remember your call for help and realize that something beyond yourself helped you survive the storm.
Your eyes spot something on the horizon. Your heart skips a beat as you realize what it is. It’s a shore. A vast shore glistening in the sunlight. You wouldn’t have discovered it if you hadn’t survived the storm. The miracle of it all overwhelms you. You are headed somewhere. Somewhere beautiful. All you must do now is continue to sail toward that distant shore–your destination.
Some say there is no distant shore, that life is simply an ocean we sail on until death parts us forever. Many never question this worldview. Many fear to question it. Yet it haunts each one of us. “Where am I headed?”
For the believer of the biblical account of redemption, the answer is simple. We are sailing along this ocean of life toward another life–toward a heavenly shore. We don’t fight the storms alone. We don’t drift along aimlessly. We have our course set. And though we wander, we strive to sail straight toward that ever-fixed mark. Toward that glistening shore. Toward our Heavenly Father.
Words can’t capture the majesty of this truth. Neither can music, yet I believe that Phil Wickham struck along this line of thought when he wrote his song Sailing on a Ship. It’s vivid. It’s real. It’s a reminder that we are sailing–closer and closer every day–to that golden shore.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)