My mother tells a story of when I was about three years old on our sailboat. I used to get so horribly sea sick that my father took some rope, poked holes in either side of a bucket and tied that bucket around my neck so that I could just let it rip, if you catch my drift. One day, someone asked me if I was having fun. Apparently, I lifted my little blond head, wanly smiled and said, “Yes!” That’s an amazingly positive comment considering the fact that all the while my stomach was churning and I vomited involuntarily into the bucket for hours!
As the years went on, the sea-sickness didn’t improve very much. I recall spending the first two days of our cruises severely under the influence of Marazine or Dramamine. I would occasionally wake up from a half-comatose “nap” on the deck with saliva dripping out of my mouth, my face completely adhered to the deck cushion, and realizing that half the day was gone and we were pulling into some harbor. Back in those days, my father used to tell me his secret for not getting seasick. He told me to look at the horizon. He said that the horizon didn’t move. So while the boat was rocking under power of the waves, if I kept my eyes on the horizon, I wouldn’t feel like I was rocking so much. He told me to stand in the middle of the cockpit, allow my legs to act like shock-absorbers and then focus my gaze on the line at the edge of the world.
It worked – especially after those first two days were over.
Now in adulthood, I still get motion sickness. And not just in cars or on boats. I get “life-drama” motion sickness. You know what that is, right? That’s when everything in our life starts to spin at such a rapid pace that we feel nauseous. Have you ever laid in bed and felt your stomach doing flips as the thoughts of your recent crisis spin in your mind like a carnival ride? I hate that!
And in those times, occasionally my father’s words come back to me – Keep your eyes on the horizon.
I interpret that a few ways:
- I know that the place I am in is not my destination. When I look ahead in my life, I know that whatever I am going through at this moment that is driving me to feelings of nausea, is a season. This has come to pass. This is not where I am dropping anchor. I’m on my way to my destination. The wind may have picked up and white caps may have formed on the waves, but I’m still moving forward. This is hard, but if I keep my eyes focused on my purpose and my future, I don’t feel the “spins” as severely. Do you have a vision for your future that can keep you grounded as you move through difficult times?
- He’s done it before and He’ll do it again. I remind myself that this time of turbulence might be new to me but I’ve been through tough times before and I will again. God has gotten me through all of the other turbulent seasons and He will get me through this one, too. I think back on all of the situations that baffled and scared me as my mind raced to the worst conclusions. And then I recall how after I committed my life and the outcome into God’s hands, everything worked out for my good. His faithfulness never fails!
- The “horizon” that I am fixing my eyes on is the infinite beauty and power of Jesus. There is nothing and no one in this world that can carry me through my crises and get me to the other side. Only the Lord will see me through, make me stronger and wiser and restore everything that got lost along the way. One of my favorite Scriptures that I say out loud in the harshest times is found in Isaiah 26:3
Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
3 You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Remember, the horizon of God’s faithfulness doesn’t move: so take your position, keep yourself loose and relaxed, and focus your gaze on everything that is true, pure, honest, and commendable. Focus on these things!
Hear the echo of my father’s words: Keep your eyes on the Horizon.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- How do you usually respond when everything in your life is rocking as a result of a storm?
- When circumstances are causing you to reel with shock, disappointment or sadness, do you want to be able to experience security in your heart?
19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
What this Scripture is telling us is that our hope in God is the anchor for our souls. He cannot lie and he will not change His mind about you. The writer of Hebrews has just outlined earlier in the chapter that God made enormous promises to Abraham, who waited patiently and received everything that was promised. God has made promises to you – promises to love you,to heal you,to strengthen you and provide for you. Do you know how to locate and access those promises?
I encourage you to start reading the Bible for yourself in a translation that you can really dig into,. I the New international Version, the English Standard Version and the Common English version. You can find great resources for reading the Bible here:
The Word of God reveals His heart for us. Spending time reading the Word will encourage you as you see all the times that God protected His people and provided for them – even when they didn’t deserve it!