Hello Hump Day readers! Have any of you ever had a ‘margin of error oops?’ I’ve had many. As kids growing up in a resort in Northern Wisconsin, every year we took our boats out of the water into dry-dock for the cold winter, then back them down again to the lake in late spring—when hopefully the ice was out though.
My dad wanted us to learn to drive when we were young, so he started teaching us when we were 10 years old. I couldn’t wait for my first time to back a boat into the water with our old WWII Willy’s Jeep. You had to be careful as the gears would pop out on you, plus it only had the inside rear-view mirror—Dad said the side mirrors had become a WWII hazard. He was determined that we needed to learn how to back up—it often took many tries but he was patient (most of the time).
When Al and I started RV-ing some 25 years ago, the matter of backing-up now included an RV and a boat. It took me a while but I got it—not very gracefully but I did it. I even did a good job with our large speedboat when I backed it down the 10-lane boat ramp at Lake Powell! Talk about stress—that ramp was huge and intimidating! Worse yet, folks shouted at you if you were slow, or gave you that middle-finger salute. One had to just block out the noise and focus—it’s the only way to keep the boat from wandering into another lane. I was quite proud of myself (slow and steady) and delivered that boat into the water where Al was waiting for me–with any damage (to him or the boat)!
We all encounter margins of error; sometimes small, other times not so much. Reminds me of the great hymn, ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ where one stanza says, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to drift toward the desires of our flesh—we’re prone to wander—stretching way past that “margin of error.”
King Solomon understood the propensity of God’s people to stray—he had done that many times himself and he didn’t want his sons following in his own follies. In Proverbs, Chapter 4, he pleads with them to stay on track. Here are 3 instructions he gave them:
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you” (4:25)
“Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (4:26)
“Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (4:27)
Hebrews 12:2 says “What we fix our eyes on is what we will follow. So, to walk wisely, I must keep my eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith.” In other words, no news outlet, self-help book or social media influencers will suffice; they really exist to distract us from where God wants us to go!
The Apostle Paul also spoke to our wandering in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
“We live in evil days”—a saying that has been used for hundreds of years. We humans are prone to wander, to push the boundaries, and get so distracted that we find ourselves crashing into the wall. Like backing up a boat, RV or car, we need to keep our eyes on the task at hand and not wander off.
In closing, there is another old hymn that sums up this devotion. Helen Lemmel was a gifted singer who had a successful concert career in the Midwest as a young woman and was the vocal music teacher for a number of years at the Moody Bible Institute. Sadly, she wound up with blindness and her husband abandoned her because of it! It is in these two setbacks, Helen wrote “Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus.” She lived that title and went on to pen over 500 songs and poems, but this hymn was the most favorite of them all. Helen always said the words came right from God.
We can take some wisdom in her song because no matter where we are, what we are doing, what trying times we are trying to get through, Jesus is right there with us saying “child, look to me, I am here for you always”, AMEN.