Is God in Your Boat?
The Voyage of Life: Youth by Thomas Cole
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We have before us a bright day in a lush, spring green setting. Through the beautiful scene we have a calm river and on that river is a small boat with a young boy steering it from the stern. He stands confidently with his right arm in the air pointing the way. He mimics the angel carved into the bow of the boat. Their bodies thrust forward in anticipation of what's ahead.
And what is ahead? There in the distance, even beyond the mountain range, is a gleaming, white marble palace -- something like the Taj Mahal. It represents a future of great importance, a bright and happy place of achievement.
If you saw Thomas Cole's first Voyage of Life painting about childhood (see the truth in color entitled "Childhood, How Life is Meant to be") you'll remember that the same boat in the picture had an angel steering it with the child in the middle. But in this picture the angel has been left off on the shore and has turned to wave good-bye to the youth with perhaps a warning as well.
Sadly the young man has no time for the angel. He has places to go, things to see and do. He neither sees the angel's wave or hears the warning if there is one. There is absolutely nothing in this picture that would lead us to believe there will be any troubles for our young man. All of earth seems to beckon him on to the future that awaits him.
This painting is a wonderful reminder of who most of are are in our youth. We are full of confidence in the future, standing firm in our direction and needing no one -- least of all an angel (representing God) in our boat. We have learned a lot in our few years and we're ready to reach out to our dreams and goals.
There is nothing wrong with this as long as you keep God in your boat. King Solomon sowed every wild oat there was to sow and came to some important conclusions that are just as true for us today.
Ecclesiastes 11:9, "Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment." NIV
Ecclesiastes 12:1A "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come." NIV
God wants to be with you in every stage of your life. Don't let him off at the shore. The older you get the more you'll be glad that he is in your boat. Keeping God in your life will not mean that you never have any difficulties but it will mean that you'll get through those difficulties because God himself will keep you. It is his promise to all who trust in him.