Installment Number Two
Mariners Passage - The
purpose of this column is to share my reflections on the life
of we mariners and the Creator of the seas. (Proverbs Chpt.
23 verse 34) We mariners have opportunity to experience the
Almighty up close and personal in ways that others cannot.
By George Shannon
Bolger, Microtrawler & Teal builder.
Prior to becoming an adult, trust to me meant that if I did things a certain
way or as I was told, things would turn out ok. Or at least something good was going to
happen. My parents gave me that first notion of trust by saying "if you chop those
weeds in the backyard, you can go play with your friends". I chopped the weeds and
trusted their word to me about what would come next. And sure enough it did happen just
that way. As I grew older I found out that things get more complicated than that, people
promise things they cannot deliver. The toughest of these lessons come when someone close
to us that we love or depend on lets us down. We all have reason to distrust many folks.
It was not until recently that I came across a Scripture passage "Better to take
refuge in the Lord than to put ones trust in mortals". (Ps 118:8). The question
that immediately comes to mind is, "how far do I carry that"? When building my
two boats I constantly trusted what experienced builders were telling me about how to
construct or use a certain material and it was good. There were times when communication
was not real good, but their hearts were in the right place. I remember when I was younger
and people gave me advice, I would blame them if it didnt work out. That only worked
for a while until I got tired of being a victim. It came down to listening to advice and
then deciding I would try it that way and take full personal responsibility for the
results. Things went easier that way.
When I apply trust to the things of God, the rules definitely change. I prayed
for my nephew to be healed of Leukemia and he died. I trusted God with my prayer and it
didnt work. (At least I didnt see how). Later, my wife got cancer and lived.
This time it worked. I was in the Navy on a recently modified submarine that no one in the
crew had experience handling. During the sea trials off the coast of Oregon in a severe
storm and high sea, we lost control of it and headed for the bottom at a severe angle (40
plus degrees). I thought it was all over, but eventually we brought it under control after
passing through our test depth where it should have broken up. We all lived and my trust
in God was renewed. I trusted Him with my life on that old thing and He came through. When
my younger brother, nephew and brother-in-law came up missing on a fishing trip, the whole
family trusted God would bring them back safe. All three drowned. Well, in each of these
examples I assumed that trust meant, ask and it will be done according to my plan and
wishes. My nephew dying led to some doubt about prayer and trusting God. Of course God was
smiling on me when He didnt take my wife and the submarine incident was just a clear
answer to prayer. My brother, nephew and brother-in-laws accident really messed up
my notion of trusting God. Since that time I have come to realize that the Lord tells us
in Scripture to pray constantly and cooperate with "His" way. Only God can see
the big picture (Providence) and how it all fits and how and when it is all supposed to
happen. I dont know how often we change Gods mind about things, but I believe
somehow there is an influence. As my faith grows and I pray and read Scripture
consistently, I am more ready to accept whatever it is that God knows is best even if it
hurts right now and maybe for a long time.
I remember another time in the Pacific on the way to China; we came into a
hurricane and could not submerge because it would have been too dangerous. We had to ride
it out. I was on watch on the bridge and saw green water 30 feet and higher breaking over
us. The sheer power of the water slapped us around pretty good, but in this case it was
more like a carnival ride and didnt seem to have too much danger in it. It might
have been because I was only 19 at the time and had experienced no real brain cell
development yet. So, I didnt see it as a serious trust issue.
Maybe we should get into the ride of life instead of worrying about so many
things and trying to predict all the outcomes and where the turns and tips will take us.
My goal is to trust in that Providence a little more each day.