A Capsized Life?

Does it seem your life has taken an unexpected turn? Is the surprise circumstance a bit of a trial or challenge? Did someone hand you a lemon when you wanted a sweet piece of chocolate? Did you want a fresh cup of strong coffee but got warmed-over, stale, weak, brown juice?

The God of Creation is not surprised by anything. He knows our challenges, sins, and choices, which is affirmed by the Bible time and time again. He is not a far-off, milk-toast, weak God. He is the master of circumstances, gives challenges, trains, conducts testing, maintains oversight, and loves those who love Him. Yet, things sometimes happen that seem dreadfully contrary. So, here is an illustration about capsize procedures for a small sailboat or canoe to show a lesson: a mishap is not the end of the world. But, a mishap does require some effort and action on our part. Here is the picture, which is a parable about the same point:

Capsize Procedures

I did “pram sailing” for many years when I was young. There was always the risk of turning over in windy or gusty conditions, although you can capsize because your weight is on the wrong side of the boat when the wind changes, too. I probably did go over, but I don’t remember it. The message is simple, however, capsizing is recoverable and just part of what you do if the boat goes over…

A small boat has no cockpit because it is fully open. It is common, when sailing, to be heeled over 20 degrees or so. If a wind catches you unexpectedly or you “turn about” to put the wind on the opposite side of the boat, on occasion the heel will increase. If it goes beyond the point of no return, the boat will turn over such that the mast lays in the water and the open cockpit will be nearly full of water.

The procedures to correct are not hard but they do take some effort and coordination between among crew members. It is a little harder to correct with one crew member. One crew member gets near the end of the mast and pushes up while treading water. The other pulls at the hull to right the hull. It takes a little time since water does not spill quickly from the sail. You don’t work against the water; rather, you rotate the hull in the water. The boom has to be loose as well so the cloth of the sail will pull up from the water but not gather or trap it. Once the mast is up, the crew members can splash out what they can then carefully enter the hull and splash most of the rest of the water out. During all of this they have to keep the boom of the sail so it can flap in the wind freely. After most of the water is out, the crew can regain their normal positions, pull in the boom so the sail begins to work the wind, and off you go.

James 1:12  Blessed is the man that remains steadfast under trial…

Capsizing happens in both sail boats and canoes. It happens. It is not the end of the world. I used to train kids with canoes, and part of it was to intentionally capsize the canoe. The recovery procedures are very similar.


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