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The Captain

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

The Captain

Shannon VanZegeren


My homeland is ravaged, but whispers of rebellion

To reclaim & redeem such a reckless invasion

I arrive at their base, want to join the battalion

But that, they say, you’ll have to take up with the Captain.

No man is idle, each moving with haste

An urgency drives them to take up their place

“Where is the Captain?” I shout in their midst,

“I’m ready to join. Show me where to enlist.”

Nobody stops, but they all point the way

They give me directions as I move through the maze

I’m disheveled & sweaty, but with focused intent

I seek out the Captain & burst into his tent.

A meeting underway, my face suddenly flushed

This is something important. Their discussion is hushed.

They are poured over pictures & tables & maps

But the Captain looks up & straightens his back

I’m prepared for a reprimand for poor presentation

And walking in on the Captain without invitation

But he calls me by name, “I’ve been counting on you.

There’s a specific job that I need you to do.”

I’m taken aback, I’m stunned, & I’m silent.

The Captain knows me & gave me an assignment?

“I'm just here to help,” I manage to say

He smiles & he nods in his commanding-like way

And I just want to stay with him until all this is done

But there is work still at hand & a war to be won

So I’ll take up my post & charge into action

With no fear of death for I’m known by the Captain.

About The Captain

Unusual. Unprecedented. Unheard-of. All words I’ve heard to describe the past 7 months. What this past 7 months has taught me is that everything in this world is fleeting and temporary.

But the one thing that is certain in my life is the certainty of eternity, the unseen, and the spiritual realm. I am certain that God’s got this whole broken world in His hands.

The idea and metaphor of The Captain was born out of my prayer life. As the insanity of our world continued to develop, I found it hard to pray. Maybe I was just feeling overwhelmed.

“God, there’s just so much,” I would tell Him.

I found myself unsure of what to do or how to articulate anything running through my head. There were a lot of question marks, but I kept circling back to this: we are in the midst of a spiritual war.

As Christians, we know what the ending looks like. We long for the day Jesus comes back and wins the war. If the world spins through another day, that just means He still has work that needs to get done before He comes back.

My prayer shifted to this simple statement, “God, I’m here to help. What do you need me to do?”

I ask God this question everyday. This has to be my perspective because it gives me a purpose in the midst of the crazy. As Madeleine L’Engle says, it turns the “chaos into cosmos.”

Shortly after I started praying this daily prayer, I heard a sermon on the book of Jonah. The sermon’s closing question was this: what assignment has God given to you?

This question hit home. I didn’t want to be like Jonah, running away from my assignment. After all, wasn’t I praying every day for one?

That’s when I shifted my perspective. Rather than perceiving my current circumstances as random, coincidental, or meaningless, I saw them as an assignment from Christ the Captain. Suddenly, I stood a little taller and with a little more confidence. It turned my chaos into cosmos.

So I’m taking up my assignment in the midst of spiritual war. I don’t have a clear cut list of to-dos, but in my current position as a wife, teacher, friend, musician, writer, person, etc, this is what I’m working on:

-not complaining about my circumstances

-doing all my work to please God

-praying for the people I interact with daily

-being full of joy & hope & communicating that to the people around me

-not worrying about tomorrow

-trusting God’s plan & purposes for my life

-thanking God for both blessings & trials

Note the “working on.” I don’t have this all figured out yet, far from it. This also doesn’t mean looking at the world through rose-colored glasses or ignoring pain, trials, or hardship. On the contrary, it makes sense of it. Chaos into cosmos.

If you’re having a hard time making sense of your current situation, maybe approach the Captain and say “I’m just here to help.” Ask, “what do you need me to do?” He’ll give you an assignment because there are no prerequisites or qualifications needed, only your genuine willingness to help. And when you start looking at your circumstances through that lens, it makes sense out of what He’s set out for you to accomplish. Chaos into cosmos.

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1 Comment

Wow what an amazing poem! Such a neat analogy of God as the captain and us asking how we can help in this crazy world that is our reality right now. Very encouraging and enlightening to know like you said, "God's got this whole broken world in his hands". And your list of things you are working on is a powerful list for all of us. Thanks for sharing!

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