Rescue at Sea

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8: 10

“Strength” translates to the Hebrew word “maoz” meaning “fortress.” Joy is a stronghold of the Lord. In this fortress a New Testament principle prevails. 

“Let the peace of God rule in your heart.” (Col. 3: 15)

Robert Louis Stevenson said: “Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in good fortune or misfortune at their own private pace like the ticking of a clock during a thunderstorm.”

This indicates the life of joy is the intent of the Father.

A classic example of this came out of World War II. A true American hero and his young companions were shot down over the Pacific Ocean. Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and his crew were adrift on their tiny raft for 21 days. When asked how they survived he said, “We prayed.”

For days their bodies were cooked by the scorching sun. Heat, hunger, and exhaustion brought them to a breaking point. Rickenbacker learned to pray as a child at his mother’s knee. She thus gave him one of the greatest of gifts. It was in effect once again unwrapped on that raft. On the eighth day of their ordeal they were hungry, thirsty, and fearful for their lives. In this hopeless condition he read from his pocket New Testament these words of Jesus: “Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on it … But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6: 25 & 33)

Needing food and water for their parched bodies they resolved instead to fix their minds on Christ and His righteousness. 

What happened next they concluded to be a miracle. Out in that vast ocean miles from any land a seagull landed on Rickenbacker’s head providing food and fish bait for further food. Then came their first rainstorm providing fresh water. Believing God to be with them they calmed down and prayed with renewed confidence.

They continued to drift for two weeks, but clung to that text. To be rescued a plane would have to fly right over them in order to see them in that vast ocean. Sure enough one did, affording their rescue. 

After their rescue they said they “let the peace of God rule” in their hearts. This brings great joy to strengthen all who do so. They had a fortress in the middle of the ocean. Obviously the King was in residence. 

Are you spiritually, like Rickenbacker, a drift in a shoreless sea? Practice the principle they employed and you, too, can experience the peace that passes understanding in your turbulence.