Come Out into the Tempest of Living
In his book Ethics, Dietrich Bonhoeffer included a poetical series in the introduction entitled “Stations of the Way to Freedom.” The poems included themes of self-discipline, action, suffering, and death. Though all four sections are written in such a way to demand a response, there is something about the second section that has always drawn me in. It reads:
Do and dare what is right, not swayed by the whim of the moment.
Bravely take hold of the real, not dallying now with what might be.
Not in the flight of ideas but only in action is freedom.
Make up your mind and come out into the tempest of living.
God’s command is enough and your faith in him to sustain you.
Then at last freedom will welcome your spirit amid great rejoicing.
The phrase “come out into the tempest of living” captures my imagination. We work so hard at making life easy when it never is. And the moment that it is easy, then we have likely stepped into no man’s land where meaning and purpose are lost for us. It does not mean that every day is a decision to leave hearth and home for a wild, safari-like adventure. Rather, we should see life as a series of dares and whims and bravely taken steps. Otherwise, what is the point?
As you go about work and chores and the occasional adventure, remember that it is in the storms of life that we can catch the wind and experience God’s pleasure in our days. The moment that you feel as if control as slipped from your grasp, rejoice. It is likely the moment that you are in that great tempest that brings joy.