We finally got home from our fantastic trip; this afternoon. We were supposed to get home yesterday, but after arriving at JFK late yesterday afternoon, our flight to Indy was cancelled as we were getting ready to board. To make a very long story short, we ended up finding a hotel for the evening, and then were able to head home today. We are both tired, but I just couldn’t call it a night without a post for the blog. And tonight, it’s not about today, or yesterday, but last Saturday; as we were cruising from Holyhead, Wales to Guernsey in the southwest corner of the British Isles.
The evening started as we were getting ready to leave Holyhead after a wonderful day of shore excursions. We had just boarded the ship after an afternoon of sightseeing; and we even heard that Prince William, who lives in the area, was flying his helicopter back to the local base. We were all out on the deck looking for the yellow helicopter as the pilot boat pulled alongside our Crown Princess to pick up the gentleman who had helped us navigate through the harbor on our way out to sea.
The wind picked up, and within minutes, we were in a think haze, and the bridge reported that waves of 4-7.5′ were expected throughout the evening. Now I should say that Janet and I have never really had a problem on any of the cruises we have done, but the waves of the Irish Sea picked up pretty quickly, and the wind howled around the decks. Periodically, members of the ship’s crew barricade deck 7, the Promenade Deck, so passengers can’t go out near the railing; and tonight was one of those nights. No sense being foolish and risking the loss of a passenger.
But the fog kept getting thicker, and I noticed that every two minutes or so the bridge’s air horn would sound. Like a foghorn – throughout the early evening, and then throughout the night. As I laid in bed, I heard the horn mark time as the hours of the night passed by. As odd as it sounds, it was a reassuring sound to me. Somehow I felt safe – knowing that there were people on the bridge who were standing watch – making sure that we were safe. And there was an odd rhythm to the evening. Because the ship was rolling from side to side a little; and the waves seemed to never end – wave after wave up against the side of the ship. And yet, the knowledge that things were fine. Now I am not one who does well in any kind of motion environment. In fact, I always have pills with me in case I get seasick. But on Saturday evening, I felt great – even as I was in bed, rolling a little from side to side as the waves continued their endless assault on the ship.
That’s when I thought about my relationship with Jesus Christ. The waves reminded me of the constant nudging of Christ in our lives – His relentless pursuit of us. And the horn – another reminder of Christ – announcing his steadfast desire, and ability, to look out for us; even in adverse circumstances. I also remembered how reassuring this all seemed to me. Now, while tonight’s story is not all that dramatic, or memorable, the fact is that it was one of the periodic times in my life that I felt very close to God. Odd, isn’t it?
Here I was, in the middle of the Irish Sea, in a dense fog, with waves relentlessly moving this huge ship, and I felt totally secure and safe in the arms of God. It really didn’t even occur to me that a verse might be hard to find; the first verse that popped into my mind was Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Christ uttered these words after announcing the Great Commission in the preceding verses, from Matt 28:18-19, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Here we were, in the middle of the sea, having visited at least 5 countries and several independent kingdoms in the several weeks we were in Europe. And Christ was still commanding me to make disciples of all nations; and to teach them about the Good News! What a blessing.
So my encouragement is for you to remember that Christ is always with us – wave after wave. Reliable, trustworthy, real! And He has the power, and the responsibility, to watch over us; signaling His love for us and our safety day after day. My prayer is that you will take a moment to thank God on a daily basis for His relentless pursuit of us. Because the greatest thing we can do to advance the kingdom is to model a Christ-like behavior to those around us who are not yet Christ followers.
So there you have it – an experience with God in the midst of the show nature decided to display for us last Saturday evening. Who knows? Maybe it was God, once again giving me His assurance that He is with me always – even to the end of the Age. Have a great day in the Lord!