On Water Walking

Since John Ortberg wrote his book on "getting out of the boat" there have been numerous attempts to use this metaphor in describing the Christian life.  While it is one thing to describe life on the water, it it quite another to live it.  Ourgreenroom caught up with an unsuspecting water-walker to see if we could figure out what life really was like "out of the boat."

OGR: Sir, can we interrupt you for a minute?

WW: Sure.  I was just out taking a stroll on the waves.

OGR: We noticed!  We were wondering if you could share with our readers a little bit of your story and how you became a water walker.

WW: No problem.  Truth is…I haven’t always been a water walker and even now there are LOTS of days when I spend more time dog-paddling than jogging across the waves.  You just got lucky and caught me on a good day.

OGR: How did this journey of water-walking begin?  You say you haven’t always been a water-walker…what were you before?

WW: Same as everybody else — a boat person!  In fact, when my most recent adventure started I was very much a boat person.  The boat that I was on was GREAT!  Brand new!  We (my co-passengers and I) had spent years working on it.  When we finally set sail, we were so proud!  We called all of our friends and said, "Hey!  Come look at our new boat!"  We even sent invitations to all of the "big-wigs" in town so that they could have their picture taken in front of our new boat.

 OGR: Sounds impressive!

WW: We thought so.  In fact we were so impressed with our new boat, that for the longest time we didn’t realize that there was a HUGE problem.

OGR: What kind of problem?

WW: It never went anywhere!  We just drifted along with no real direction.  We were so impressed with our new boat and so tired from all of the work that it took to get there and so sure that people would want to be on our boat with us just because it was so cool that we never took it out on the water.  We just floated.

I take that back.  We didn’t just float.  We floated and gloated.  We were so impressed with our new boat that we spent most of our time patting each other on the back saying, "Aren’t we great!  Look at this great boat!  God must be pretty impressed with us!"

OGR: Sounds like things were going pretty good on the boat.  What happened?

WW: One lesson that I’ve learned is this: Boat people don’t like boat rockers.

OGR: I think I know what you’re talking about, but help me out.  Explain that to our readers.

WW: Well, I made the mistake of questioning the people who were in charge of the direction of our boat.  I guess it just made sense to me that boats were supposed to go somewhere.  So I got a little frustrated with the fact that we spent our time in dock.  I made those frustrations known to the "captain" (the guy whose supposed to be directing the boat) and I don’t think that he liked it very much.

Sure, he agreed that there needed to be direction.  He said he liked the idea of direction.  But then he would go right back into "boat maintenance" mode.  I could tell that something was wrong after that.  Our relationship was quite strained.  Even though I went to him on multiple occasions (I thought we were friends) and asked if there was something that I did to upset him, I was never told that anything was wrong.  He just smiled and said, "Keep up the good work, sailor!"

OGR: So what happened?

WW: This is where the story gets a little tricky.  The captain sent his "henchmen" to have a few "conversations" with me.  They never said it that way, but that’s what happened.  They would pull me aside and question my boat-activities.  They would make vague statements about how my role on the boat was too ambiguous.  I spent hours and hours with these guys just trying to justify my existence on the boat.  I told them exactly what it was that I did, why it was important to the overall function of the boat, and what my plans were to make the boat run more smoothly. 

But then I made the biggest mistake a boat worker could make…I questioned the captain.  Not in a bad way, mind you.  I just wanted to know what his plans were and whether he was operating the boat in the best way possible.

 OGR: You say it was a big mistake…how do you know?

WW: Easy.  They threw me overboard!  One morning, without notice three of the captain’s "bodyguards" came into my quarters and told me to get out!  They had the nerve to say, "We love you."  But they followed it quickly with, "You’re not good enough to be on this nice new boat!  Pack your stuff and leave.  Here’s a few supplies that should get you through as you flounder in the open sea!"  And they walked away never to be heard from again.

OGR: That’s awful.  What was it like hitting the water for the first time?

WW: Well, when you first get tossed out of the boat the water is so unfamiliar and so cold that it takes your breath away.  I spent several days just trying to get my bearings.  The best thing about those days was that there were a lot of people on the boat that loved me enough to throw out life preservers.  They were pretty disillusioned by the way that I was treated by the boat-crew, but they were more concerned with my well being.  They made sure that I knew that they would prefer me being on the boat than the captain, but they couldn’t really make that change.  The captain had too much control.

Some of them jumped overboard with me.  I’m worried about them.  Not all of them have been in the water before.  Some are in danger and hopefully I can help them get their bearings.  Right now my water legs are pretty fresh, so I’m just trying to keep my balance as the Master teaches me water walking 101.

OGR: The Master?  You mean that there’s someone else out here with you?

WW: Yep!  That’s the one secret that boat-people tend to forget.  The Master spends more time on the water than in the boat.  In fact, the boat usually puts Him to sleep (it puts a lot of boat people to sleep too, but that’s another story).

OGR: So did you just meet the Master or did you know him before?

WW: Nah!  We go way back.  It’s just that sometimes the comfort of the boat tends to outweigh the adventure of water walking.  We lose touch with Him in comfort.  But he’s always there.  I just seem to be more aware of him these days.

OGR: Where will your little stroll take you?

WW: Not sure yet.  The Master doesn’t always tell you his plans.  He usually just shows them to you one step at a time.  For now, I’m just getting over the sting of hitting the water so hard and trying to remember what it’s like to stand upright in H2O.

OGR: What do you think will happen to that new boat?

WW: Oh, they’ll just float.  The captain of that boat isn’t going anywhere.  He likes the control he has on board.  And he’s got everybody fooled that he really cares more about them than he does about his own comfort.  His henchmen will see to it that everybody stays in line.  If not, they’ll hit the water with a pretty good splash I would imagine.  I can’t worry about them now, though.  I need to help the people that they’ve already jettisoned.  Got to go for now.  There’s too many people that need to learn to hear the Master’s first lesson on water walking: TRUST!

OGR: Thanks for taking time to let us understand.  Good luck.

WW: Water walking isn’t about luck — it’s about trust.  Maybe you should step out here and listen to the Master for a while.  You might get a little wet, but you’ll never know until you get out of the boat!

 

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~ by Chris Green on November 10, 2005.

2 Responses to “On Water Walking”

  1. Best thing I have read in a really long time! I will be sharing it!

  2. When I read this initially I did so with wonder at your great sense of allagory. When I read it today, knowing that it is YOUR story, I still marvel at your story telling ability. But my heart hurts for you.Prayers are being lifted.

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