Recently I read a heroic story about Joe Rantz, a young man that overcame abandonment and a severe lack of love, food and support during the 1930’s economic depression. He remarkably made his way onto the University of Washington rowing team, and his boat won the Gold medal in the 8-man rowing competition during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games!
Joe’s triumph is uplifting and thrilling, but there is a deeper message. Although he learned to survive through self-reliance and a fiercely independent attitude, the result was he trusted no one but himself. But a rowing team must be one unified orchestra built on trusting each other. To achieve synchronicity, rowers are taught to keep their eyes directly on the rower in front of them, never looking side to side or outside the boat to judge progress. Eventually, Joe relinquishes his fear and puts all his faith and trust in “The Boys in the Boat” and learns to do his job and ‘just keep rowing’.
What great advice! A few months ago I started a new job in a foreign environment with many unknowns, but daily decisions and actions had to be made. I felt fearful, blind and helpless. I saw little progress. But I was earnestly working with a practitioner and turning to God for guidance knowing that He is present. The practitioner reassured me that I wasn’t abandoned! So I ‘just keep rowing’ each and every day and doing my job. I made the best decisions I could and gave God all the credit for the ideas and direction I took. I keep at this struggle, and finally after 2 ½ months I found some peace when it dawned on me that I don’t control outcomes. I am not an independent worker, single-handedly responsible for the success of my job, my daughter, my spouse and so on. That is God’s job, and He is more than qualified to do it! Now my sales department is consistently closing deals each month and the staff morale has increased. The CEO recognized the many positive changes he witnessed.
Understanding that “All things work together for good to them that love God” gives freedom to relinquish the fear that accompanies a personal sense of controlling the future. When confronted with ‘evidence’ that God is not present or in control, do your job! Don’t stop rowing to look for signs of progress.
These moments are trials of faith. In Science and Health we learn “If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race. When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done, and receive according to your deserving. Love is not hasty to deliver us from temptation, for Love means that we shall be tried and purified.”