During my bike rides over the past few weeks the above words have been in my thoughts more and more. At first glance shipwrecked faith may seem like a lack of faith, but if you continue reading you will see it will hopefully increase your faith and, also help you see that Jesus walks with you daily and never leaves nor forsakes you.
In July 2011 we bought an old sailing boat, a 40ft Hughes Columbia great blue water boat for our retirement. She is a solid old boat but needed a lot or work on her before we could go sailing; toilets (heads), bilge pumps, hot water heater, water, lighting, electricity, if you can name it on a boat it needed either fixing or replacing. This boat was and still is a huge blessing to us we prayed about our purchase before even seeing this boat, but we both knew this was the one that would see us through our retirement and across the ocean. About two to three months after buying her she was in a good enough condition to make the trip from Florida to Texas and Phil and I was to sail her, it was going to be an awfully big adventure.
This particular adventure started August 2nd 2011 we had set off from Madeira Beach Florida to sail across the Gulf heading to Seabrook TX. This was our second attempt to set off due to engine failure the first time. It was a beautiful morning as we headed off (on engine) into the wide blue yonder being so excited and having no idea of what was to come. On our way we saw Dolphins, Sharks, Whale Shark, Flying Fish, Manta Ray, and the best night sky with shooting stars I think I had ever seen. We decided to stay on the engine as much as possible to get to TX as soon as possible; all day and into the night we motored along quite happily. I had been on the wheel all day (we had to take it in turns steering, sleeping etc.) and it was my turn to sleep, Phil took over about 6:00 p.m. At approx. 2-3 in the morning I awoke to Phil frantically calling out for help and the main cabin filled with smoke, our engine had completely overheated to the point of glowing red, it was that hot. So sadly, for the second time we had no engine at all to use, but luckily we had a sail boat so we could always move under sail.
Phil and I decided to (once again) turn around as we had motored only 150 nautical miles from Florida. It made sense to turn back and get the engine repaired by the same guy instead of carrying onto TX, which was still around 4-500 miles away. At around 4-5a.m. we turned around and started to sail back to Madeira Beach thinking, man what else, well we soon found out very quickly what else. We had been sailing along for a few hours very nicely and happily when a wind suddenly picked up and caught the main sail, the traveler (which helps keep the boom centered and also when trimming the sails) suddenly completely snapped off which sent the boom flying out over the sea, and then the unthinkable happened, the boom snapped off the main mast, boom and main sail went flying off into the ocean. My husband was in the right state of mind to grab onto the ropes attached to the boom and sail and pull them back onto the boat, so we did not completely lose our boom or main sail. So there we was shipwrecked at sea with no engine, no main sail, no boom, no dinghy (it had a slow leak we did not know about),and no cell network being 150 miles offshore, just in need of a miracle. Thankfully my husband is an engineer and always thinks outside the box, so he had the idea of strapping the boom with every piece of rope we had to the main mast in its correct position; therefore, at lease when we did get to land it could be welded back on. Moreover, we still had our jib, which is the smaller sail at the front of the boat so we could move bit by bit at least.
After my husband had fixed the boom to the mast, dealt with an extremely emotional in shock wife, he unfurled the jib and we started to just bob, not moving forward not moving backwards just bobbing around like a little cork in the vast ocean, yes, the wind had completely died and the ocean was like a milk pond. Well that was it for both of us, we just broke down in tears with total exhaustion and frustration, no engine, no dinghy, no boom, no main sail, no cell network, no boat around for miles thus no-one on the radio, and finally no wind, shipwrecked in the middle of the Gulf. We could do nothing and call no-one, in the physical it was over. However, in the midst of our breakdowns we remembered who we are, who watches over us, who had been guiding our every step and who to call on, the beautiful wonderful name of Jesus. We called out, we cried out in desperation to God, the Creator of the universe, to come down and help His children, to get us to safety, to let the wind blow, to let us move.
Praise God, no sooner had my husband stopped praying the wind came up right behind us in the perfect direction for Florida, and also the waves started pushing us along. God not only answered our prayers to send the wind He also had the waves in the perfect direction and we surfed as well as sailed back to Madeira Beach, the joy we felt was indescribable, God had answered our prayers in an instant. An additional blessing was the dolphins never left our side, day and night, until we got within 25 miles of Madeira Beach dropped anchor and collapsed into bed, after being able to use our cell phone and call the mechanic. It had taken us all day Wednesday, Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night arriving at just after 5:00a.m. Friday morning, we were exhausted, thankful but exhausted.
The reason I called this shipwrecked faith is yes we had been physically shipwrecked, but sometimes we can also become spiritually shipwrecked. We can be going along our merry little way and then something will happen that just completely throws us off and we can become adrift, just bobbing around not moving forward and having no direction; becoming weary and cast down, not knowing which way to turn. Thankfully, we will always have a mighty God, our Savior, our Heavenly Father, who watches out for His children and will always be there for them; answering our prayers, healing our hurts, soothing our fears, and stirring up His joy in our lives. If there is anything you are facing or going through this day just know you are not alone, call out to God, call out to Jesus, cry out to Him for He is always there with you walking with you, waiting on you to turn to Him. Zechariah 4:6 says “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts”, what we cannot do God can, what we cannot see God can, in the midst of desperation God is there and will move on our behalf; it is not what we can do or how we do it but what God does in and through His children. As I wrote this piece I was reminded about the very old hymn by Eliza E. Hewitt, “A Rainbow on the Cloud”
“Be not weary or cast down, When the heavens seem to frown, There’s a rainbow on the cloud for you! ‘Tis an arch of promise bright, Earnest of unfading light Pouring from a sky of radiant blue. There’s a rainbow on the cloud for you, There’s a promise that is sure and true; Yes, the storm will pass away; There will dawn a brighter day-There’s a rainbow on the cloud for you. He whose word rebuked the storm now is able to perform every word He whispers to your heart; wholly lean upon Him, then, for the sun will shine again, and the shadows evermore depart. There’s a rainbow on the cloud! Tho’ your soul is sorrow-bowed, Lift your voice to praise the Lord today; There’s a rainbow ’round the throne; In its glory we will own That He led us in His perfect way.”
Eliza E, Hewitt “A Rainbow on the Clouds”