TIM’S FORD LAKE, Winchester, TN—Air leaked slowly from the boat lift, causing the 5,000-pound MasterCraft to drift away one stormy summer night.

Soon the boat was swirling in the main channel. Since the 400-horsepower engine was switched off, the swift current set the $175,000 boat adrift as if it were a rubber raft. When a fisherman found the boat the next morning, it had drifted over 2 miles from where it was supposed to be.

I’ve done this.
Maybe you have, too.

Spiritual drifting is unintentional. Totally unplanned. And it usually takes you by surprise. But it’s not that difficult to do.

To me, summer is the easiest time to drift.

Maybe it’s the lack of routine that causes drift. Or traveling. Or perhaps a summer squall . . .

Who knows? And here’s the truth: it doesn’t matter.

When I wake up feeling lousy, disconnected, soul-empty and drifting spiritually, I know what to do: turn right back to God. Feed on His word. Worship. Seek Him in prayer.*

His arms are always open.

Thinking of how quickly the boat drifted away (and how far it went) reminds me that I must cling to God as I face life’s swift currents. Like the boat, I don’t want to end up where I’m not supposed to be.

Perhaps I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

If you’ve drifted spiritually this summer, don’t beat yourself up.
In fact, don’t think of yourself at all.

Simply turn to God and to His word. TODAY. If not, you can easily end up far from where you want to be.

Here are some truths & passages that help me when I’m drifting spiritually and want to come back:

1. I am always welcome in God’s presence.
In the parable of the prodigal son, the Father represents God the Father and the son? Well. . . he might represent someone a bit like me. Jesus said:
“And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 NLT

If a prodigal can get this kind of emotional, running-to-kiss-you reception, so can I (and so can you), no matter how far we’ve drifted spiritually.

2. The Lord is only a prayer away.
“The Lord is near to everyone who prays to him, to every faithful person who prays to him. He fills the needs of those who fear him. He hears their cries for help and saves them.” Ps. 145:18-19 GW

3. I have not drifted too far.
“How can I get away from your Spirit? Where can I go to escape from you? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I lie down in the deepest parts of the earth, you are also there. Suppose I were to rise with the sun in the east. Suppose I travel to the west where it sinks into the ocean. Your hand would always be there to guide me. Your right hand would still be holding me close.” Ps. 139: 7-10 NIRV

Think you’ve drifted beyond God’s reach? That’s a lie. Seek for Him and you will find Him.

4. The Lord forgives drifters.
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” Ps. 103:8-14 NLT

5. I’m invited to come into the presence of God Almighty, right now.
Isn’t that incredible? God invites me (a sometimes spiritual drifter) and you to spend time with Him, daily.
“Come to me, all you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:28-29 NIRV

6. Spending time with God gives me strength and stability.
“He is your constant source of stability; he abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; he gives all this to those who fear him.” Is. 33:6 NET

7. Spending time with God (and His family) will keep me from drifting to places I don’t want to go.
“Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” Eph. 2:19-22 TLB
If you belong to the Lord’s family, then you need some family time. Go worship with your brothers and sisters. It will do you a lot of good.

Here’s the rest of the story:

The owner of the boat found it banging up against an old wooden pier. It had an ugly scar on its side and a cracked windshield, but he still wanted the boat because it was very valuable to him. He pulled the boat toward him gently and climbed aboard. Then he switched on the power and turned the key in the ignition.

The boat roared back to life.

The owner let the boat idle for a moment while he checked its gauges. Then he steered it back into the channel and opened up the throttle. It soared effortlessly through the swift current until finally, it reached home.

If you’ve drifted spiritually this summer (like the boat), turn to the Lord. Let Him steer you gently back home.


*Get this free back-to-school prayer guide for families! Each day features a prayer focus, verses and writing space. Email me at hello@maypatterson.com and request the 2023-24 guide. I’ll be happy to send it to you.