Many of us raise the anchor and look to set course over the clear, blue ocean after hearing Biblical words of inspiration. We hear that nothing can conquer us and we feel encouraged; we feel invincible, because our God is invincible and we are with God and if God is with us then who can be against us? The ocean splashes below us, we sniff the salty air feeling powerful and look across the great blue expanse. To us, children of the Almighty, the blue beast looks small and pitiful. It looks weak, easily defeated–just a playground for those saved by Christ.
And that’s where every big, beautiful plan starts, but that, as well, is where many big, beautiful plans end. Before we set sail, we decide to enjoy the jubilation of feeling like a hero for a little longer. We dwell on the glory that’s to come when our mission is complete and we can’t wait to get there. The ocean catches our eyes once more, and we see that the sun is setting. The sunset is huge. It’s pink and orange and a blend of other colors that even Crayola doesn’t have a name for. And we finish our cool drinks while swaying with the water on the deck, and then the night settles over the water like a warm blanket calling us to sleep. And that’s where we stay, on the boat, imagining the adventure while enjoying the thought of what we could have been.
But, maybe, the next day we don’t just sit there and we actually ship off. But at the first taste of what it means to live the big, beautiful plan we become angry. The ropes that we have to work every day burn our hands, and the fish that we have to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner get old. The ocean is no longer a pretty blue but, rather, has turned ashy gray and smells of seaweed. And all of the hard work that it takes to keep the wind in the sails and the boat on course becomes draining. The romance of the adventure is lost in the reality of the bruising work, and we find that the beginning was actually the end. The great feeling of freedom that came with the idea of becoming special didn’t last, and, no doubt, the glory of the journey sure didn’t come soon enough. So we decided to call ‘er quits.
For many of us, Christianity is exactly that. We get caught up in the romance of the treasures of salvation and we miss the real message of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to defeat sin and to be a shining example of what it’s like to work on behalf of God the Father. Jesus set his sail and let the ropes burn him and ate bland meals and worked the sails until he finally was killed by the very thing that he came to save. It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it. It was worth it for him and it was worth it for all of those who have come and will come to know salvation through him.
But that wasn’t the end of Christ’s story. After his adventure on the ocean, Christ was met by the reality of the romance. That old feeling of power and significance that came with the idea of the big, beautiful plan was no longer just a thought, no longer was it just a whimsical fling that was nice to think about. It, however, became his reality. It became a real, palatable treasure that he pried from the mouth of the beast and held above his head with his own two hands, proclaiming to the world that he had done it. He had defeated death, and, now, he is alive, living in the glory of heaven.