death, Faithful Living, Hope, iceboating, Lessons from the Wilderness, Outdoor Adventures, Uncategorized, Winter, Winter Water Sports

At the Mercy of…

It is finally iceboating season in Michigan! Lake Michigan acts as a huge heat sink, and when its waters are warmer than the air, the significant evaporation results in lake effect snow showers for days on end. But, once the lake begins to cool off, the snow lets up so that the inland lakes can freeze slick and relatively snow-free. Our whole family gets impatient for the good ice to form!

My brother got his boat out last weekend. It takes some work, sharpening the runners (as you do your ice skates), checking the sail for holes (the mice can eat like horses), making sure the stays and halyard and sheet ropes are sound, and, of course, gauging the depth of the ice and the force of the wind.

As in all outdoor adventure, you put yourself at the mercy of prevailing elements when iceboating. That means you must withstand marrow-freezing cold, fickle winds, imperfections in the ice, and other ice boaters. Of course, you do your best to fend off the threats with the right equipment and sound judgment. A pot of chili on day-long simmer doesn’t hurt either.

I have been thinking a lot this year about “being at the mercy of…”. We typically think of mercy as something we extend to others-actions like charity, compassion, and nonjudgmental service. I wonder, though, if mercy isn’t so much bigger, and why we often fail to see ourselves in need of it; we are needy recipients, yet prefer to believe we are grandly altruistic in our smug self-sufficiency. God knows better. There is nothing we can do or buy to protect ourselves. In the end, we are incapable of saving ourselves because we can’t be enough-not good enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, nor can we work hard enough to avoid the ice cold truth that we will die.

Think about a God who would still love you despite all your imperfections and sins. One who would make a way for you to be fully prepared in life to accept and even welcome death, and to live forever with Him. That is mercy as deep and solid as good ice. All you have to do is believe it.

Happy sailing…into the arms of a savior!

~J.A.P. Walton

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