Although I’ve never been deep-sea fishing, Alan and I have definitely been sailing on the deep blue sea, and not always when it was sunny and bright! Our scariest adventures have been during big cruises . . . once trying to outrun a hurricane in the Caribbean, and once hiding behind the Hawaiian Islands in an effort to avoid too much damage to the ship. In both instances, the ships and passengers all survived, although Alan was sicker than a dog both times and couldn’t eat for a few days until the soup stopped sliding off the tables. Another memorable trip was rounding Cape Horn off the southern tip of South America. That was breathtaking, because the wind was so strong it took our breath away and we could hardly stand on the deck (only 3% exaggeration). However, that day was also breathtaking because we saw a rainbow arching over the Beagle Channel as we made our way from Ushuaia around the horn.At the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, Alan and I were standing on terra firma celebrating a beautiful spring afternoon, so it wasn’t the least bit frightening, although still awe-inspiring and unforgettable for us. With these memories bolstering our courage, we looked forward to crossing the Arctic Circle on our cruise with Holland America’s Koningsdam, although I will admit to having some visions of the Titanic going down as we stood dreamily on deck in Iceland’s Isafjordur Harbor the night before our crossing. Our captain was Werner Timmers, a Dutchman who had served over 30 years with Holland America, and we had heard him talk about his career. He said that over the course of his years as captain, he’d experienced almost everything! Low points included a man overboard, losing an anchor, and facing a storm with 80-foot waves. The fact that Captain Timmers had weathered such a terrible storm and survived gave me a sense of confidence that he could probably pilot us safely through the icy, possibly treacherous waters ahead, so after our usual bedtime prayers, Alan and I went to sleep, knowing there wasn’t anything else we could do to help! As it turned out, the crossing was smooth and uneventful, and we woke up the next morning in a cloud of foggy sunshine. As the fog cleared, I could tell that we’d arrived safely at our new harbor . . . a beautiful, new land full of promise and adventure. Alan and I are also on an adventure in our personal lives. Are you? We’re heading to a faraway land called “heaven,” and we’re going to have to cross some very deep water to get there. I don’t know if the crossing will be choppy and frightening . . . if we’ll see a rainbow of hope or have to weather huge storms.As we embark on this journey, it’s reassuring to know that we have a pilot, Jesus, who has experienced both life—and death—and can lead us safely to heaven. Captain Timmers piloted us to our port in the North Sea, but only Jesus Christ can bring us safely into heaven’s harbor, and I know it will also be a fantastically beautiful land, full of unbelievably wonderful love, joy, peace . . . and adventure! Are you trying to pilot your own ship? Have you lost your anchor? Are you facing storms that could shipwreck you emotionally and spiritually? I hope you are trusting Jesus to guide you safely to heaven’s haven of rest!
The Haven of Rest
(—Henry L. Gilmore, 1890, public domain)
- My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying, “Make Me your choice,”
And I entered the Haven of Rest!
I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest,
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.
- I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The Haven of Rest is my Lord.
- The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the Haven of Rest.
- How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John, the beloved so blest,
On Jesus’ strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the Haven of Rest.
- Oh, come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the Haven of Rest,
And say, “My Beloved is mine.”
Jesus taught us in John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.“
(All photos taken during our cruise of the North Seas on the Koningsdam except for the three taken in South America and South Africa.)