I was born in West Virginia. As a young boy, I would lie in my bed at night and listen to the towboats blow their whistles as they entered the curve on the Ohio River at Huntington. The towboats actually pushed the barges. It was dangerous work The barges were usually in groups of six across and eight long, stretching several hundred feet. Most tugs were driven by two 15,000-horsepower diesels. A load coming down the river had very little control, so the diesels always had the right of way. The tug captains would signal each other when they started into the river’s curve.
As I listened to them late at night, I could feel a mystique about them. I wondered: Where did the boats come from? Who were the captains? What were they carrying? Then sleep would slowly overcome me, without me ever knowing the answers.
Today, like those towboats, we live dangerous lives in an unknown world. Our family cookouts and other summer activities cannot change life’s headlong plunge into an uncertain future. One potentially filled with illness, accidents, job concerns and the challenges of aging.
Even now, living in a senior community, I still cannot escape all the issues of life. So how did those towboat workers handle the dangers? They trusted their captain who knew those dangers and the treacherous currents and underwater hazards. That captain who also knew what was on the other side of the river’s curve.
While we can’t see what’s ahead, we can also choose to live under the guidance of our heavenly captain. God continues to offer us many opportunities to be inspired and to continue learning and growing. The church in all its weakness and wisdom has pastors, theologians and saints who walk among us. God leads us in his everlasting ways. We often have our own encounters with the divine. Only God knows what is on the other side of the curve.
Let us go on, then, relaxed and enjoying life. God remains in charge and continues to speak and guide us through life’s dangerous waters. Enjoy the remainder of these warm days!