It has become a joke on board Voyager. But at first, it wasn’t so…
A phrase that keeps coming up is: “Let it develop.” Take for example, the ofttimes crowded waterways of July in the Puget Sound. There can be countless boats on the horizon; everyone going their own direction. To avoid a conflict, should I turn left, stay straight, turn right, or just stop? The standard response is: yes, you guessed it… “Let it develop.” Last year we had very little experience with this chaotic dance. I would say let it develop even though we wanted immediate resolution. At seven miles per hour, there just isn’t enough information to make decisions and choices of direction even though we could see several miles ahead. Some of the really big, ominous ships travelling faster than us would simply be gone by the time we got to the dreaded collision point. Their size can be deceiving.
This may seem academic after the tense moment has passed, but when your well-being is in jeopardy, it might not be the time to say, “just let it develop.” You want resolution and you want it now. We have earned some experience in boating and also in life. There is comfort in the many successful conflict resolutions that didn’t end up in catastrophe. Even if the evidence would suggest otherwise, there is a calm assurance that we’ll be okay. The process of adjusting to life on the boat has opportunity for applying what we already know to the new and different situations all around. This is what adventure is all about. We do tend to like the tame variety so the outcome is really never in doubt.
Life’s outcome is good. Do you believe this? It is easy to project a different, tragic ending based on the constant barrage of bad news or being surrounded by the bad choices of others. This is a fear-based existence and would be easy to adopt while out on the water. Storms with rough seas, a hole in the boat taking on water or any number of overwhelming breakdowns with resulting bad outcomes could all ruin us. Thankfully, we have managed to avoid these fearful possibilities. There is still the tendency to pray for immediate relief from the chaos that finds us. But, as Rich reminded me while visiting last week, I should thank God for unanswered prayers. Garth Brooks sang:
“If only He’d grant me this wish, I wished back then, I’d never ask for anything again. Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember while talkin’ to the Man upstairs, and just because He doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean He don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
There is no way that we could have predicted or manufactured the teamwork, time with friends and family, scenery and the joy of this season of life. These are good gifts from above.
I like the boating phrase that describes a boat with the ‘right of way.’ It is the ‘stand on vessel’. With confidence that comes from experience, and faith in a caring God, we have become a Stand on Vessel. When things look dire, I don’t say ‘let it develop’ anymore, but I might just be praying. Could it be that it’s His voice that is saying…
“Just let it develop”