My husband Bill and I recently cruised on a smaller cruise line, Windstar. We sailed through the Caribbean to smaller tropical islands that larger cruise ships couldn’t reach.

One reason we picked this boat was that it had a sports platform that opened on the back of the ship when it anchored at a port. Weather permitting, we could paddle board, sail, snorkel or hang out on the water trampoline. We were excited to give it a whirl and after our first day excursion, we headed straight for the platform. We were greeted by an attendant with a six pack for abs. No kidding. And I don’t mind saying I noticed because if he has abs that sculptured, I’m sure he worked hard at it. Bill mentioned his abs later, too.

Bill wanted to take the little tiny sailboat out and I decided to paddle board. Six Pack warned us that the current was strong. We felt comfortable with our skills, so he gave us direction to stay directly behind the boat and to either side. That didn’t make sense to me as I noticed the waves looked smaller towards the shore and the front of the boat and pointed that out to him. He reminded me to stay to the sides and back of the boat, so he could see me. Yes, Mr. Six Pack, absolutely.

Bill headed out the starboard side, carried by the wind. “Can he sail?” Abs asked me.

“Yes. He can sail a Hobie Cat.” I replied.

“That’s not a Hobie Cat! It’s a Sun Fish.”

“Oh. Is there a difference?” I asked, boarding my paddle board.

“Hobie Cat has two pontoons. That doesn’t.”

With that he hollered directions out to Bill and I took off towards the port side of the boat, enjoying my paddle boarding in the Caribbean and keeping within sight of Six Pack. I enjoyed the waves adding an extra bounce and challenge to staying on the board. They provided a great workout for me. Soon I turned to cross to the other side of the boat and realized I had drifted farther back than I had intended. As I paddled back to the platform, I noticed Six Pack had taken the dingy out to assist Bill who had dumped his sailboat.

I watched as he tried to help Bill upright the sails, then pulled him and the sailboat into the dingy and returned to the platform. I laughed at Bill having to be rescued. Guess it didn’t maneuver the same as a Hobie Cat. As I paddled harder to reach the platform, the current pulled me further away from the boat with each stroke. I was on a treadmill, going nowhere but further out to sea.

As soon as Bill and the sailboat were deposited back on the platform, Six Pack came for me. I laughed at having to be rescued, too, but with a thankful heart.

We hung out on the trampoline securely attached to the back of the ship and I felt like the Lord was reminding me that that’s how His Kingdom works here on earth. He sets rules and boundaries for us, for our own good, just like the rules to stay on the back side of the boat, which were for our safety.

Remember when God led the Israelites the long way through the desert to the Red Sea and had to part it to rescue them? Do you know why he took them the long way? Of course, to show His power in parting the Red Sea, but He stated it plainly in Exodus 13:17. When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter, For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So, God lead the people around the desert road toward the Red Sea.

Did you catch that? I’ve missed it a gazillion times until recently. He had their best in mind. He knew they were inclined to turn back to slavery in Egypt, so he led them on a road he knew would prosper them, that would give them hope and a future, though it took a while. The long road was for their own good.

God has our own good in mind for us, too. His Word states how we are to live. The Holy Spirit whispers warnings to us and guidance as to which way to turn. It’s our job to obey. It may not make sense. There may seem like shorter paths. The waves may seem gentler in the distance, but we are to obey. And though we make mistakes, God in his mercy rescues us, or sometimes uses Six Pack Abs to do the job.