“Steady as she goes” the captain yells to the helmsman at the ship’s wheel meaning, “Keep the ship on course resisting the cross currents, the winds.” That is God’s word to my heart this morning! “Steady, Jerry. Don’t falter, don’t stop, don’t race or crawl. Steady on!” Is it a word for you, too? I am, by personality, a man who likes to see things accomplished, results matter to me. Impatience is a constant temptation.
My late father-in-law, a man skilled in craftsmanship, who could build and fix anything, tried to teach me his skills. More than once he told me, “Jerry, you could do this well if only you would just slow down.” My need to ‘get it done’ made me less than steady sometimes, much to his irritation. My Heavenly Father counsels much the same. “Steady, wait, trust.”
Discipleship demands a ‘long obedience in the same direction,’ to borrow a phrase from Eugene Peterson. Every day there are choices to be made that require a higher value, a connection to eternity, if one hopes to live this Christian life well. I love what David sings in Psalm 57. His life was full of troubles. Saul had mobilized a special forces team to try to kill him. He had no refuge, was living the life of fugitive in caves in the desert. His circumstances were fertile soil in which hopelessness might grow, but did he let that happen? Look at this song.
“They spread a net for my feet— I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path— but they have fallen into it themselves. (Selah)
While his enemies plotted his destruction, he made his heart quiet. “Steady as she goes,” he whispered and then, looking to God who reigns, he broke into song!“
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.” (Psalm 57:6-11, NIV)
Yes, friend, we need to learn from him, to make that choice. We cannot allow our emotions to drag us into the pits today, where we complain in despair, only to proclaim great and wonderful plans tomorrow, to be eclipsed by some distraction the day after that! Steady! Isaiah, God’s preacher to Judah in a time of spiritual apathy and pending judgment, could have thrown up his hands in disgust, and retreated from his calling. He did not. He points to the secret of being faithful. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4, NIV)
Have you been unstable, too quick to race towards a convenient solution, too ready to quit when things get tough, up today, down tomorrow? God can change that in you (and me, too)! Here is a word from the Word, full of promise. I find it interesting that the Spirit chose to inspire the man, Peter, who’s impulses caused so much drama. Read it with faith and claim the power promised so that you can hear the call of our Captain – “Steady as she goes.”
“Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:8-11, NIV)
Abba, in our world full of change, where tempestuous winds blow over us,
Grace us with vision, patience, and steadfastness.
Speak to us, calling us higher, urging us to see Your power in our uncertainty.
Help us, Holy Spirit, to demonstrate faith by the consistent choice to honor You.
Jesus, forgive us our faithlessness, our tendency to seek the easy road.
Call us to be true disciples, who sing the songs of our Father,
With equal fervor in the sunshine and the rain. Amen.