Thursday, June 4, 2009

Limping Home

Your rigging hangs loose:
The mast is not held secure,
Thus your sail is not spread.
But an abundance of spoils will be divided
That which limps will have carried off plunder.

-Isaiah 33.23

Isaiah sees an ancient storm-battered sailing ship, limping into port. Topside, her stays are broken, her mast is atilt; her "sail is not spread." A wrecked and ravaged vessel, yet her hold is laden with treasure.

The port of call is a city that heretofore has been too "far off" to see. There one's eyes gaze upon "a king"[1] who is beautiful beyond description. His city is "a place of broad rivers and streams," but no warships ply those waters; "no galleys sail them." There is no terror there, no suffering, no sickness, no sin. "No one living (there) will say, 'I am ill'; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven." There, at last, our journey will be over, our "tent stakes will never again be pulled up." We will have reached our final destination, "a quiet place," the home that will, at last, heal the homesickness that has marked our days.[2]

And so, though I limp toward that harbor, I must say that my ship is laden with treasure: the comfort of godly parents and a stable home, eternal salvation when but a child, a wise, loving, forgiving wife who lights up my eyes; our three sons and their families that bring me colossal joy; many years to love and serve others; God's forgiveness for all my failings; his grace to renew every effort; his loving kindness that has followed me all my days. Indeed, my hold is filled with the goodness of God.

An ancient bark, limping home, but laden with treasure!--an apt metaphor for this old hull.


[1] The noun, "king" has no article, but we know the king Isaiah had in mind.
[2] Cf., Isaiah 33:17-24. Cp., Revelation 21:1-22:5

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