"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." This Ethiopian proverb suggests that life lessons are often best learned during difficult times. Intellectually I can understand this thought, however, my soul is often troubled in the midst of turbulence. Usually asking, "Why?" or saying, "If only…" is my instinctive first response.

Recently various friends have experienced a cancer diagnosis, a job loss, marital discord and a motor vehicle accident that nearly claimed a life. Reactions varied from worry, anger, and bitterness to contentment and peace.

So who of us wants rough seas even if we know they have purpose and lessons for us? Not one of us asks for more difficulties. There are enough without asking! Jesus, however, tells us much about "rough seas".

In the story of the death and Jesus’ subsequent raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44) we learn three characteristics of walking with God through difficulties.

  • Difficult circumstances are compatible with God’s love (John 11:1-5)
  • Delays of God are rooted in His love (John 11:5-6)
  • Earthly realities need to be viewed in the light of eternity (John 11:38-44)

God wants us to become more "skillful sailors" in the seas of faith. His agenda is always for us, not against us. Do we believe that?

This week, instead of asking, "Why?" or saying, "If only", will you join me in navigating the rough waters of life with joy, prayer and thanksgiving? (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17 NIV)


Sharing the journey with you,

Bob Snyder