A lesson from the canal locks

Reprinted from the March 12, 1984, Sentinel

Did you ever watch the locks of a canal operate? One time I visited some locks along the great St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada. A huge tanker entered one of the locks and the gates were shut. Once the gates were secure the tanker could not move forward because there were other gates in front. It could not go back because the gates behind had closed. At this time, a great flow of water was released into the lock where the tanker rested. As the water flowed it began to fill the area and to lift the giant vessel slowly, surely, steadily, until it reached the level of water in the next lock. When it had risen high enough, the gates in front of the ship opened freely, and the ship moved forward, stopped, and the gates locked behind it. The same process was repeated. It was just as if the ship were walking up stairs.

Sometimes when we think we’re not going forward in our experience, individually or collectively, the need is to be lifted higher in our altitude of spiritual understanding, faith in God, and in our capacity to love, so that we will be ready and worthy to take the next step and go forward. Sometimes it takes severe striving with self to rise above stagnant experience. We often have canal-type experiences because our desire is not just to go forward on the same old level but to go onward and upward.

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