6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Anybody having anything trouble you these days?

It’s probably part of God’s sense of humor that I went on a whale-watching trip this week, the week we start learning about Jonah.


I’ve been on whale-watching tours only twice in my life.

The first time was over 20 year ago, the second was last week. Twenty years ago, Lori and I were living in Colorado. We’d been attending graduate school and were flat broke. But, on a visit to my family in Santa Barbara, we decided to splurge and take the half-day whale boat out of Santa Barbara harbor.

I practically grew up in that harbor. As a little guy, I took sailing lessons there. The swimming pool where I trained as a teen is located in the harbor’s parking lot. The family of Dave Smith, one of my swimming buddies, had a 36-foot Sloop docked in the Marina. We’d take the boat out on weekends and sail it across to Catalina once or twice a year. So, as Lori and I ponied up our fare and climbed on board, I was confident and anticipating showing Lori a really good time. PICTURE OF BOAT IN HARBOR

The crew cast off, we motored out into the harbor. Lori and I were standing on the upper deck as we passed the breakwater. All of a sudden, something began to happen to me. My head started to feel funny, and my stomach started to play tricks on me. We decided to move to the lower deck, even though we wouldn’t be able to see as far from there.

My stomach and head didn’t feel any better there, but the Captain promised that we were going to see whales soon, so I stuck it out for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, 2 hours because I wanted to show Lori a good time. I had never experienced seasickness before. I thought my head was going to implode and my insides were going to explode. Finally, with my head on fire and my bowels on hurricane-watch, I excused myself, left Lori on deck, went below deck and found a table in the galley, curled up on its bench, and went to sleep – which is the only cure for seasickness.

After we docked, Lori had her film developed and I got to see several wonderful pictures of whales up-close to our boat. I never saw them live, like Jonah, I was asleep in the bottom of the boat.

I had never experienced seasickness before that day. But I’ve had it for the last twenty years. Right up until last week. As you know, last weekend I went on a cruise with and courtesy of our LAF group. We boarded the boat on Saturday, and by Saturday night, I was starting to develop that old whale-watching feeling. There’s something every frustrating about being on the water, because you can’t control the water, it controls you. When a swell comes up, the boat tilts, then the swell goes down, and the boat tilts the other direction. For twenty years, I’ve been fighting the boat every time it tilts.

Last Saturday night, I decided not to fight it anymore. I decided that the water could do whatever it wanted to do, and I wouldn’t worry about it, I’d just go with the flow. And that cured my seasickness.

Here’s what made me decide to go with the flow.


At the end of 2006, Lori and I were hit from behind by another car. Our car got dinged, and Lori got minorly hurt. I had a choice. I could get ticked off at the girl who hit us, or I could believe that God would make good come from it. So we submitted our insurance claims, our own Mike Kastrup treated Lori’s injuries, and several months later, our car was fixed, Mike was paid, and the insurance company even compensated Lori a few hundred dollars for her pain.

On a Saturday night in January of ’07, our garage was broken into. Lori’s purse was stolen from her car, I lost a few tools, and Bryan’s car suffered about $1000 worth of damage. Instead of panicking, we all decided to come to church and fulfill our responsibilities for the day. Between services, Lori called and cancelled our credit cards, which were rapidly accruing charges as our assailant went on a shopping spree. We had a choice, we could choose to get mad, or we could trust God and go with the flow.

We decided to do the later. The break-in cost us some money, but today, our assailant is behind bars, and we have learned what it feels like to be victimized – which we count as a good thing, because we can now relate to so many people who have been violated in one way or another.

In March of ’07, I bumped a car at a stoplight because of my own stupidity. Fortunately, I did no damage to the other vehicle, but initial estimates were that my 14 year old Camry would need $2000 worth of work.

So I took it to get a second opinion. The second opinion suggested I go the junk yard. The guy at the junkyard suggested I go to Tijuana. In Tijuana, I not only got the entire problem fixed, but the rest of my paint-job touched up for $350. And, I had an enjoyable day for cross-cultural experiences.

My year went pretty much like that. And it was one of my best years ever. It even cured my seasickness, because now, instead of fighting my circumstances and fighting what God wants to do through them, I have decided to trust Him. I go with the flow. When circumstance rock left, I rock left. When they rock right, I rock right. No more seasickness.

What about you? What is it that’s troubling you today that you can’t fix, prevent or cure on your own?

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