Folding fresh laundry in my friend’s living room, I was listening to the Disney movie Moana, as it was playing on the television. Being that Moana is Vivienne’s favorite movie, I’ve seen it, heard it, and sang along with it more times than I can count; but this time a small, humorous scene spoke to me a bit differently.
To lead you up to the following clip, for those who haven’t seen Moana a million times, she is on a mission to sail across the sea but one problem is that she doesn’t know how to sail. As night is setting in, the waves grow and chop as the wind picks up and Moana’s boat capsizes; unable to right itself (it is a catamaran), she clings to the hull as the storms rolls in and she begins pleading with the ocean to help her through the storm. Then, as a waves crashes down on her the next scene opens with her boat shipwrecked on an island…
How many storms in life have we weathered where we looked heavenward and were like Moana: annoyed, angry, exhausted, and in complete disbelief God would allow us to be “shipwrecked”? I mean, isn’t He supposed to love, care, and help us? So, like the precious children we are, we pout; we get upset; we throw little toddler-like temper tantrums directed toward our Heavenly Father because we do not understand why He isn’t helping us.
Or is He?
What you don’t see in this clip is what happens after Moana yells at the ocean. Maui, the demi-god she was trying to reach to help her on her mission, pops up…the ocean shipwrecked her on the very island where she needed to go. The ocean did in fact help her, just as she had requested; it just didn’t help her in the manner in which she had envisioned it would help. I imagine she thought the ocean could right her boat and put her back on it, clear away the storm, and allow her to continue toward the island – smooth sailing. But that’s not what the ocean did.
When we act like Moana it is often because we don’t feel like God is helping us or moving us in forward in this walk of life. We may feel abandoned by our Heavenly Father when the storms and seas are building, seemingly pushing us backward and under the water. We fight to stay afloat, we pray for help, some times we cry out in frustration that it isn’t happening the way we envision it should…or maybe it feels like God isn’t helping us at all and perhaps He has forgotten us (even though Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us otherwise).
What we may not realize in those storms of life, the big storms and the small storms, is that God may be using the storms to guide us closer in line with His will for our lives. God is indeed moving us forward in this walk, not holding us back. He wants good for us, not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11); we are to give thanks in all our situations because that situation is HIS will for our lives in that moment (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It isn’t that the storms are necessarily bad — although they may feel like the worst time in your life, trust me, I know — they are what God is using to continue to purify and sanctify us so He can use us according to the will He has for our lives.
So just remember, next time you feel like God isn’t helping you, or perhaps even moving you backward, He may just be bounding you forward in this walk and moving you closer in line with where He wants you to be.
** As I type this, I am reminded of a sermon from our friend’s father-in-law about this very topic. At the time, I listened to it and had my reservations because of the place I was in, but this scene from Moana has made me want to hear it all over again. If you’d like to listen, follow this link. **