Later today I will board the flight that takes me to Malawi and the start of a new chapter in life. There have to be mixed feelings. Parting will not be easy after a wonderful send-off weekend with the family. Yet I know that Malawi’s embrace awaits me – reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.
Over the past decade on Scotland’s west coast I have been often putting out to sea – in boats of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps it is that experience that brings to mind an old hymn that speaks to the moment of embarkation. It is a hymn that seems to have fallen out of fashion but it was part of my childhood and speaks to the venture that begins today.
I feel the winds of God today; today my sail I lift,
Though heavy, oft with drenching spray, and torn with many a rift;
If hope but light the water’s crest, and Christ my bark will use,
I’ll seek the seas at His behest, and brave another cruise.
It is the wind of God that dries my vain regretful tears,
Until with braver thoughts shall rise the purer, brighter years;
If cast on shores of selfish ease or pleasure I should be;
Lord, let me feel Thy freshening breeze, and I’ll put back to sea.
If ever I forget Thy love and how that love was shown,
Lift high the blood red flag above; it bears Thy name alone.
Great pilot of my onward way, Thou wilt not let me drift;
I feel the winds of God today, today my sail I lift.