One ship goes east, another west,
By the self-same winds that blow;
’Tis the set of the sail and not the gale
That determines the way they go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of time,
As we voyage along through life;
’Tis the set of the soul that determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
I am amazed that the same set of troubles and trials can make some people bitter and others better. In a great crisis, one person may fall to pieces while another experiences peace. It all depends on the set of the soul.
The angle at which a sail is set is the direct result of a decision by the sailor. After clarifying what the goal is and calculating the natural forces — mainly the wind — the sailor determines what angle will enable the craft to use these forces to reach the goal. Then, he sets the sail with ropes, so that it will not be at the mercy of the forces.
The angle at which a soul is set is also the result of a decision. Each person must make an intentional decision and “set his sail” in the right position to use every circumstance to move toward the goal. The Apostle Paul wrote that we should not be “tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind” (Ephesians 4:14). Rather, he said, we should “set our minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2). As we experience the storms in life, if we want to make sure we experience peace, rather than pieces, and that every experience makes us better, not bitter, let us set our souls on God, using the chart and compass of his Word.
The gales will come and go from different directions. How will you set your sails? Decide ahead of time on your destination and “set your sails” by dedicating your action and reactions to God.