President's Blog

Lessons Learned from Sailing

I grew up on the island of Montreal and spent much of my summers along the shores of Lake Saint-Louis. I have fond memories from my childhood of building rafts and venturing out into the lake. I remember one day the police bringing my younger brother home. He had been spotted building a raft with friends to venture out into the Lachine rapids. He would never have survived that venture.

When I was a teen, my father and I were invited to enter a sailing race on our neighbour’s boat. The race took place in the picturesque Lake of Two Mountains. It was a beautiful sunny day with no wind. All sailors were on board enjoying the sun, but not the race. Our captain made a strange order to take our boat away from the pack. Other sailors thought we were quitting or drunk.

Slowly and methodically, we moved further and further away from the other boats. It seemed strange, but we obeyed our captain because we remembered his many racing victories. A good kilometer away from the other boats, we saw what our captain had seen long before: a wind was streaming across the lake and we were headed for it. The moment the wind hit us, the boat spun around and our captain yelled for all hands to hoist up the spinnaker sail and catch the full advantage of the wind. It was amazing. On a windless sunny day, we were flying across the water toward the other sailboats still in lifeless formation going nowhere.

I was commanded to lean my body on one side of the boat to keep it from capsizing. I was hanging onto the hull with most of my body only a meter from the water rushing by me. The water looked so good… so cool on that very hot day. I thought I might put my hand down to cup just a little water to sip. However, my captain saw me and yelled not to touch the water or I would slow the boat down. My little hand, slow down a 40 foot boat? But I obeyed and on that day we swiftly went pass all the other sailing vessels except one.

Unlike our race, if you methodically follow the Lord in a way that goes against the flow of the world, the Spirit of God will so fill and control your life that you’ll always come first when it comes to gaining new territory. What new territory do you need to gain? Victory over a habitual sin? A relationship reconciled? Or debt-free living? I learned on the Lake of Two Mountains that I should always obey my captain because I remember he’ll keep me safe from the dark and dangerous undertows of life and direct me safely and victoriously into new territory.