The Wind in my Sails

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A young, tan-skinned boy of seven hopped into the fishing boat while his father pushed it from the bank. He climbed in after his son and watched with a smile as the boy hurried to and fro getting it seaworthy.

The boy stopped and surveyed his work with a frown, the boat appeared ready to sail and yet it was as still as the waves. His father motioned for him to sit beside him, “come sit, and get a different perspective.” The boy trudged over and plopped down on the pile of netting. Together they went over all possibilities but one, “I don’t understand father, everything is right, why isn’t it sailing?” His father reached over into the water with his hand, he stirred it up creating waves in the stillness. “look at the water my son, and look at the trees on the shore, what are they missing?”

The boy looked from the waveless sea to the still trees and his face lit up with understanding. “The wind!” His father laughed and patted his son on the back in praise. “That’s right, a fisherman’s greatest friend is the wind.” He stood suddenly and took the oars, with each row the boat gradually moved out away from the shore, but the work was tedious. “A fisherman can row, but the effort is great and the fish may scatter from the noise he makes.” He called over his shoulder, sweat forming on his brow. “The wind will guide you effortlessly if you allow it to.”

A memory came to the boy’s mind, of a mighty wind upon a stormy sea. How he had clung to the boat in fear as rain fell and lightning struck. He plucked up the courage and said, “but father the wind isn’t our friend during a storm, it nearly pulls the boat apart.” His father ceased rowing and turned to his son, “Even amidst a storm, the wind is your friend son, it is the waves that betray you.” The boy shook his head in confusion, “I don’t understand father.” The boat was still again, but their minds were alight with thought and excitement. “Son, when a passionate man is met with opposition, do we blame the man?” His father glanced at the sky in thought, “the wind is passionate, it wasn’t made to be quiet and still, but to make its presence known.”

The boy suddenly understood, “father, you aren’t talking about the wind are you?” His father laughed and smiled proudly at him, “no Son, I am not.” He hugged his father around the neck, “would the Holy Spirit lead me into a storm?” The father tickled him and pulled him onto his lap, “where the Holy Spirit goes, storms will follow…however, He will always lead you safely through them.”

Satisfied with his father’s answer, the boy readied the nets and together they cast them over the right side of the boat. For hours they fished and filled their nets, soon the sun dipped below the horizon and the wind finally took hold of the sails with a gust. The father and his son cleaned the fish as the boat sailed back to shore. Suddenly the son asked, “father, what is Jesus like?” He smiled so broadly that the son couldn’t help but smile too, he pointed to the brightest star that was now visible in the sky above, “he is like that star, always burning and constant, a light in the darkness that can’t be extinguished.” The star reflected back in his son’s eyes, “did he teach you to fish?” His father chuckled, “you could say that,” he paused and added, “he taught me to be a fisher of men.”

On the shore, a fire was lit and the voices of people could be heard, laughing and singing, the father jumped from the boat and pulled it onto the shore, securing it to a rock. “Peter! how did it go?” called James who ran to them and threw Peter’s son upon his shoulders. “Look for yourself, the Lord is good.” Other disciples approached and retrieved the fish still squirming in their nets. “And what did you learn?” asked James placing the giggling boy back upon the sand, Peter and the disciples paused to hear the boy’s reply, “I learned that the Holy Spirit is the wind in my sails, and Jesus is the star that guides me home.” Peter beamed proudly while his friends clapped, “we will make you a fisher of men yet, my boy.” called James laughing.

The night was perfect, everyone fellowshipped together, telling stories and singing songs to Jesus, all the while a gentle wind blew, pulling at the sails and stirring up the once still waves, the Holy Spirit was present amidst the laughter and joy, and inside the heart of a boy, who despite having much to learn about sailing and fishing, had learned the greatest lesson that day.

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