written in the village, on October 24th, 2016
While organizing old documents on my laptop, I came across a prayer, written by Francis Drake, apparently, although I do not remember who he was. It was on a document called “Whole Milk Yogurt”, oddly enough, which contained a yogurt recipe, two paragraphs of a journal entry from 2013, and this prayer. The only more random document I opened this week was named Staff Meeting, in a folder entitled Head Start (my former workplace). The “Staff Meeting” document contained only a recipe for Salmon Cakes, with absolutely nothing related to work or staff. I am quite sure that Head Start never held a meeting teaching us how to make Salmon Cakes.
Hopefully this little anecdote about my poor organizational skills will make you laugh and feel better about your life, because I can’t imagine that any of you have documents more randomly named and ridiculously filed than I do. Will you please also pray that I will learn to be more organized and disciplined? Especially concerning my notes and archives of Neno language and culture. I want to organize my photos, documents, notebooks, and scraps of paper well, so I can learn faster, share data with coworkers, and find information later, without spending hours paging through notes or searching through files with names that are unrelated to their content. Without further ado, here is the previously mentioned prayer.
“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life, having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity, and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, where storms will show your mastery, where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes, and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ. ”
― Francis Drake ―
Reading this touched and challenged my heart deeply, because sometimes I become too well pleased with myself and where I am. A dream comes true, I fall in love with my “new life”, and start to sail too close to the shore, avoiding the storms which often beset those who venture into wider seas. I become content with where I am physically and spiritually, forgetting that the Captain of our salvation risked everything to bring us life. This Captain, Jesus Christ, who saved me from sin, is now and forever the Captain of my boat as I sail through life. What does He want me to risk for Him, and for the sake of the Gospel?
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about “missionary stuff” – leaving my beloved family and church, moving to the jungle, living with 2 hours of electricity a day, and tackling a language much harder than Portuguese. Those are just the externals after all. It would be possible to accomplish that list, yet completely miss the point of what God has in mind. This prayer has challenged me with deeper issues that apply to all of us who say that Jesus is our Saviour and Lord, no matter where we live and work and navigate the sea of life. Can I share with you some of the questions that have stirred my soul this week? Please examine your own heart and dare boldly along with me by asking yourself these or similar questions. Pray that the Lord will disturb you as well.
- Lord, what are the dreams you have for my life?
- Will you lead me to deeper waters of faith, and of your Word, to truths which will expand the horizons of my knowledge of You, and the depths of our relationship?
- In what ways are my dreams for life and ministry too small and possible, limiting the scope of what You, the God of the Impossible, desire to do?
- Is my biggest focus on the material aspects of life (things and money and job and food and house) or on the Word of God and my relationship with Jesus?
- Do I love my life here because of eternity, and the potential to make a difference for eternity, or is life here distracting me from eternity?
- How does God want me to live more boldly, venture into the deep, find the stars, and see Him work more powerfully than I have ever experienced?
- How can I sail out of my comfort zone today, not in a reckless or foolhardy or haphazard way, but intentionally, for Jesus and His glory?
- Am I sailing my own ship, with Jesus as the co-captain, or have I given the helm of my life over to Him as Captain, Lord, and Boss?
- As Jesus our Captain sacrificed everything to rescue me from drowning in the sea of sin, am I willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary in order to be part of His rescue plan for others?