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The Waves May Be High, but Your Boat Is Secure

The Waves May Be High, but Your Boat Is Secure

This post is part of a series of reflections from Feed My Starving Children employees about what it is like to work at a faith-filled organization during a time of crisis. Junior Obrand is on the international programs team and serves as Regional Program Manager for the Caribbean. He has been on the team for nearly eight years.

I am no stranger to hard times and difficult moments. Growing up in Haiti, I faced many hard moments, hard days, hard years — in other words, a hard life.

I realized at a very young age came that life was going to come with many and frequent hard moments — and it certainly did. In most cases in life you get to choose how to cope with bad news, or unfortunate life events. But for the Obrand kids, we did not have that luxury. For my nine siblings and me, a coping mechanism was imposed on us by my mother, Esther.

Regardless of how insignificant or severe the challenge, my mom would tell us every day, “The waves may be high, but your boat is secure.”

At the time, my siblings and I found it annoying and wished we had a mute button. It was not until several years later that I’ve realized the life lesson from my mom was actually the most important advice I could have received from anyone. Today, this phrase is my grounding motto in times of hardship.

The High Waves

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. —Mark 4:35-39.

You see, the storm was violent and sudden, but it did not surprise Jesus. In fact, He was sleeping while many of the disciples were frantically looking for a solution. I have found great comfort in knowing that our boat will not capsize. I must admit, however, the high waves can be scary. Some of the disciples that were on the boat with Jesus were actually fishermen, but still were startled by the sudden and furious storm.

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic comes with strong, scary and sudden waves. I am not writing this to tell you how to handle the waves, but to remind you that as a Christian community, we have one common bond and confidence: Jesus will calm the waves and the wind will die down. As human beings, it’s impossible for us to ignore the fear and uncertainty that come with the furious waves. However, do not be overwhelmed by fear. The devil loves chaos. Fear is fuel for the devil. As you go through this difficult time, don’t let fear take the helm. Each day, try to do at least one thing that makes you smile.

Bracing Yourself for the High Waves

I have been speaking with many friends and family here in the U.S. and in Haiti about this current crisis. Many of them use similar language to describe COVID-19: crazy, uncertain times, serious crisis, unbelievable tragedy, once-in-a-lifetime event, etc. But these people are preparing for the crisis in all different ways.

You see, on this boat that is our life’s journey, not all passengers have the same ability to prepare for the high waves.

I know friends and family who have been able to stock up on food and other basic necessities to prepare to shelter in place. I also know friends and family who have very little access to food, medicines and even basic information about the pandemic itself.

I know people who have made a list of books to read or movies to catch up on while at home. I also know people who don’t know how to read and wish they had a battery-operated radio to keep up with the ever-changing news of COVID-19.

I know people who are preparing for distance learning for their children as schools are closed. I also know people who are worrying that the crisis will prevent their children from getting their only reliable meal that they were getting from school.

I know people who are following the CDC social distancing guidelines, as well as washing their hands regularly. I also know people have no access to potable water, and the only water they can get is from a faraway river or a lake where a water spring is shared by people and livestock.

I know people who are having sleepless nights worrying about the impact COVID-19 is having on their employment, bank account or retirement funds. I also know people who have serious concerns about their ability to feed their children a hot meal a day for the next several days and weeks as they are stuck home with an empty pantry as well as empty stomachs.

You see, we are on this diverse boat with folks who have various limitations. While it is important to prepare for the inevitable high waves, it is critical to keep your hope centered on the one whose promise will endure forever. Regardless of how you describe the current pandemic, and irrespective of your personal limitations, one fact remains certain: God is on the throne and has full control of the situation.

We Are In This Together

Over the past couple of weeks we have all had our boat rocked by this pandemic. All of us — FMSC staff, donors, volunteers and distribution partners — are all on the same boat. In times of great challenges, our collective hope is in Jesus, our captain. That is one of the best things we can offer to the world.

As we navigate uncharted waters, let’s stick together and lift each other up. Some of you might be good at swimming. Others might have access to reliable life jackets. Or you might be like me — terrified of water because you can’t swim. Regardless of your personal ability, we are on this journey together and our best hope is that our boat is secure. I assure you, once we pass this section of choppy waters, we will return to smooth sailing and we will emerge stronger. Meanwhile, take care of yourself and those around you.

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