Uncharted Waters

John was sent to live in exile on the island of Patmos as a result of anti-Christian persecution. His crime: he preached the word of God and he lived his life as a testimony for Jesus. He lived and survived alone on that island. All alone.

But he wasn’t alone.

During John’s exile, God was close to him. God was all he had. God spoke to him through a vision. John wrote down everything he saw in the vision. The name of his book is Revelation. It is the last book of the Bible. It’s a unique book full of visions and prophecies. God spoken words in a time of aloneness but never alone.

What does a man do all alone on an island? How does he spend his time? How does he survive? What goes through his mind? Will he be bored with only God to talk to? Does he have God’s word stored in his heart? Can he can dig through the reservoir of his mind and find strength and comfort from his knowledge of Scripture? When all has been lost, is his faith in God alone enough?


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12


We may feel like we’re living in exile at this moment in history. But we’re not. Some of us are living with family. Some are alone, but they keep in touch with family and friends. If you know someone who is truly alone, reach out. Check on them.

This time in history is a first for everyone. Uncharted waters for even the best of us. Now is the time to gather your family close. Those who live with you. Those you can be with. Keep in touch with family and friends. The contact means so much.

Oh. Things have changed. We can no longer shop in stores. visit a salon. eat in a restaurant. go to a movie. Sure. These closings are temporary, but they’re new to us. We’ve never experienced anything like this. This change will continue without an ending in sight. Who knew?

Private funerals. Private weddings. Even close family members can’t attend. Hospital patients alone without family or visitors. Everyone needs to stay in place.

Oh. It’s easy to be frustrated. My hair appointment was only 5 days away when it was canceled. My grocery store was out of potatoes. The bakery that makes my dogs favorite treats has been out of them for weeks. I’ve had to start working from home. Petty inconveniences.

Lean in. They say. Hold your loved ones a little closer. Look across the room at the one who stole your heart. Think back to the reason they won your heart. And pause. Remember the moments of first love. And recall the reasons you chose to say “I do”. Make the most of this time with your loved ones.

Watch your children as they do homework. Oh. You may have never planned to home school, but now you are. Make the most of it. Be patient. Extend grace. Show mercy. Have fun. Let these days be the good times your kids look back on when they are older.

Allow yourself to become bored. This could spur you on to learn a new hobby. A hobby that could be life changing. Or not. But who knows what change can do for you. Be willing to explore. Read a book. Take a walk. Try a new recipe. Let your hair grow. You have no choice in the matter. Embrace it.

Pay it forward to the grocery worker. Pharmacy staff. Delivery drivers. Bankers. Healthcare workers. First responders. City, county, state and national employees. Everyone needs a break every now and then. Don’t judge a person’s politics. Embrace differences. But keep your convictions.

Lasting self confidence is built in pure faith in God. Trusting and obeying God in the hard times of life builds a strong reliance on him that produces an unmatched strength of character. 

In Christ alone I place my trust. 

This period of isolation may be the time in your life where you reap the greatest blessings from God. This may be the season where you find life’s true meaning. Trust the master of the uncharted waters to lead you to new depths in your walk with him. 

Read a book. Study the Bible. Memorize Scripture. Live out the Beatitudes. Honor those in authority. Pray. Really pray.

That money you would typically spend at a restaurant or sports event or concert. That money you would use to pay for a haircut or a massage or a pedicure. All that discretionary money you aren’t spending right now. Put it into savings. Or give to a needy nonprofit organization. Send an extra check to your church. Give to others in need. After all, how many new clothes or shoes do you need if you’re staying home all day? How much food or toilet paper do you need to hoard when others can’t pay their rent? How do you expect charities to help when they don’t have the funds coming in? How is a church supposed to help in times of crisis if believers aren’t faithful in giving their tithes and offerings?

Be generous. Be the giver. Be the gift. Chart new waters.

Faithful Father

Imagine being Joseph.  His fiancee runs off to visit her cousin.  She’s gone for three months.  And when she returns, she breaks his heart.  Oh.  She isn’t dumping him.  She tells him she’s pregnant.  Makes a man wonder what his girl has been doing for those three months she was visiting her so-called cousin.  He knows without a doubt that the baby isn’t his.  Because they haven’t.

She says the baby’s father is God.  How is a man supposed to believe that?  Can he trust her?  After all, they’re engaged.  Not married.  Should he just break up with her and move on?   Even though they aren’t married, breaking up would still signal a divorce.  Because he knew.  He knew if he agreed to marry her, the people of their village would spread the rumors.  Oh.  That couple.  They didn’t wait until they married.   But they can’t prove they were waiting.  Because now there is a baby on the way.

What if God asked the impossible of you?  Would you be willing?  If God asks you to move out of your comfort zone, would you?  How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to go, even if it is God who’s doing the asking?

The baby wasn’t his.  He knew it.  She knew it.  Did everyone else know it? He wanted to divorce her.  Quietly.  Not make more of a public spectacle of her than she already was.  He could.  You know. 

But the dream was so real.  The angel was right there.  Marry her.  He said.  She speaks the truth.  She has been faithful.  This child is God’s.  Name him Jesus.  Joseph actually heard from God in a dream.  So he did it.  He married her.  Knowing what everyone would say.  


What is impossible with man is possible with God.  Luke 18:27


This man.  Joseph.  His betrothed was carrying the Son of God.  How was he to be a father to God?  He wasn’t qualified.  He was just a carpenter.  How could he do this?  Would this child want to become a carpenter?  If he and Mary were fortunate enough to have their own sons, how would they compare?  Would others be able to tell the difference between God’s son and Joseph’s sons?

How is one to be faithful when the world says to run the other way?

Joseph didn’t know God’s plan.  Joseph didn’t know that God’s Son was to be born in the lineage of King David.  Joseph was in that lineage.  God’s plan worked out perfectly.  No.   Joseph wasn’t the biological father, but he fulfilled the plan God had laid out for him.

Oh.  It wasn’t Joseph’s place to be in the spotlight.  He didn’t have the leading role.  But support roles provide stability and depth for the leading role.  It wasn’t his birth that was announced to the shepherds.  It wasn’t his death on the cross.  His role may seem small, but really.  His role was father.  Role model.  Family leader.  Bread winner.  Not much is written about him, but words aren’t enough.  He did everything by being faithful to God’s plan.  What seemed impossible for him was made possible through God’s purpose and leading.  

Sure.  Joseph doubted at first.  He even considered saying no.  But when that angel appeared in the dream, he realized this was God at work.  God was fulfilling the promise and prophesies that had been passed down for so long.  And Joseph was part of the plan.  God was using Joseph to raise this God child.  

Oh.  My role may not be as leader.  I may be the supporting role in a much bigger plan.   There are times I don’t feel worthy of the role I’m playing in God’s plan.  There are times I would choose to step aside.  But God who calls is also faithful.  If he calls, he equips.  And in that equipping and following the plan, I find that God is so much more than a word so often used in vain by many.  God makes the impossible possible.  All I must do is believe and trust.  And obey.