“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” – Isaiah 30:15

What a sad statement…but you would have none of itA life out of balance grows more out of balance as the focus is on what I can do and what I need.  A lack of balance increases as I trust in myself and others instead of in Christ.  The result of imbalance in my life is sickness in my spirit, my soul, and my body.

On March 23, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, temporarily moved out of its set shipping lane to avoid an iceberg.  Unfortunately, the one at the helm never made a course correction and on this “revised” path, the tanker struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska and almost 11 million gallons of crude oil poured into the water, creating massive ecological damage, and costing billions of dollars in clean-up and damages.

The spilled oil would eventually impact over 1,100 miles of non-continuous coastline in Alaska, making the Exxon Valdez disaster the largest oil spill in U.S. waters until 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico making it the largest.   The clean up response from the Exxon Valdez spill would involve more personnel and equipment over a longer period than any other in U.S. history.   Shoreline cleanup began in April of 1989 and continued until 1991.  The effects are still being felt today.  All this, the result of not staying on course!! 

After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the USA National Transportation Safety Board determined there were a number of probable causes for the spill.  I think some of them speak to my life about getting off course.

  1. A lack of sobriety

The first noted cause was at the time of the accident, Captain Joe Hazelwood was not at the helm but was asleep in his cabin, possibly under the influence of alcohol.  1 Thessalonians 5:6 says “let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober…”.  2 Peter 3:17 says – “be on your guard so that you may not be carried away … and fall from your secure position.”

Let me ask you, what are the things that can cause you to fall asleep?  What might influence me that would impede me from godly action or reaction?  I can get drunk on busyness.  The rush of adrenaline can become like a drug.  I can sometimes get weary in well doing!!  Trying to do too many things!  I can get tired because I want to be seen as doing a good job.  And that’s not about a good work ethic, it’s about me and what others think of me!!  I need Holy Spirit to guide me so I will stay sober in my busy life in ministry!

  1. A lack of judgment

Another possible cause for the Valdez spill was that the one who was at the helm, the 3rd mate, did not properly maneuver the ship back onto the correct course.  This was due to a lack of judgment, possibly from inexperience.  Galatians 5:25 says “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Ephesians 5:15 in the NLT says “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.”  And there is only one source of true wisdom, and that is God.  In John 16:13, Jesus says “the Spirit of Truth…[will] guide you into all truth.”

In providing us with the power of Holy Spirit, God gives us the fail-safe resource of His own Presence to keep us on course.  God is the totality of ALL wisdom, ALL authority, and ALL ability.  When I veer off course, it is because I fail to listen and submit to Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction.   This is why, to stay on course, I must keep my spiritual ears tuned to the Spirit’s voice “and hear what the Spirit is saying.”

  1. A lack of attention

Finally, a third cause was that the Exxon Shipping Company failed to maintain the Collision Avoidance System on the ship.  This was the radar system that was in place to warn the bridge of impending collision and keep the ship on course.  The Ship Owners knew the system was inoperable and said it was too expensive to repair and operate.

So what are the systems that I need but that I can easily fail to maintain in my life?

  • Regular and consistent time with God in reading His Word and in prayer.
  • Rest which includes “just having fun” and “doing nothing”.
  • Exercise – of my mind and physical being.
  • Proper Sabbath times – weekly and throughout the year in holidays.


These three causes can be summed up in what Proverbs 3:5-7 says will keep us on the right path “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.   Do not be wise in your own eyes…” 

Getting off course can begin with such small degrees.  It is easy to think, “That won’t really hurt me.”  And for a while, it doesn’t but over time and distance; the effects begin to take their toll and what seemed so small at the beginning, magnifies into a huge distance of being off course as time progresses.  It is the little foxes that spoil the vine.

 “ In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Dave Hall
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Dave Hall

Dave serves in the ABNWT District as the Director of Leader Development and Care since 2007 after ministry in the local Church for 28 years. He and his wife, Cyndi, have 3 adult children.
Dave Hall
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