Cape Horn is thought by many to be the most dangerous sea passage because so many factors come together there. Antarctica extends far to the north toward the Cape, creating a funnel effect. Ice is a hazard of varying degrees depending on the time of year and the position of the vessel. In 1865, the CSS Shenandoah made its way through the area and said the winds were so strong that they made 262 miles in one day. The surgeon on the vessel recorded that the icebergs they maneuvered through were 180 feet high out of the water. Even today it is not an area for the inexperienced or weak hearted to venture. Some of the great events of the Bible surround the sea. The writer of Psalm 77 was probably referencing the crossing of the Red Sea with what he wrote, but as the followers of God we are able to see the broader application.
That Which We Dread
Those that follow Christ are naively inclined to believe that God is working only when things are going well, and no doubt He is, but He is always working, not just then. Many have fallen for the superficial ploy that a person can claim their way out of any difficulty. Yet it is there within difficulties that the richest lessons of life take place. As the waves of the Red Sea parted, the power of God was revealed, but so was His way; His path. It was revealed to those that crossed.
The sea offers a good illustration of what life is often like. One day it might be calm and smooth; the next it might be in an utter turmoil, with many ups and downs to deal with. No two waves of the sea are alike, but they all have impact. Life, like the sea, has a way of throwing us factors that we have not seen before, but the Bible says that God has seen them all and has dealt with all of them successfully.
There are two types of restlessness. There is the type that occurs because we have chosen the lower, baser way. There is also a restlessness that is inspired. There is a spirit in each of us that will not let us rest. It is one that calls to us to use what we have been given to make a clear difference in the world around us. It is striving to be better than what we were yesterday: more capable, better able and clearer in our purpose. It is that restlessness that fosters adaptation to ever changing situations without ever considering moral or ethical compromise.
The people on the banks of the Red Sea, as portrayed in Exodus 14, had to adapt their thinking about what they thought was possible. As the Egyptian army was rushing toward them and the Rea Sea was opening up behind them they had to foster adaptation or die. There is a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: With what I must enjoy, contented least. So much of what we seek only leaves us more restless because it brings no real satisfaction. A certain level of restlessness is only natural.
Order is Possible.
We eventually come to realize that we will never get it all done in this life; we will never get it all said. It brings another line from Hamlet to mind, Give it an understanding, but no tongue.
Seek to understand what God means by saying His way is in the sea, rather than voicing displeasure over never really being satisfied. There is a very fine line between satisfaction and indifference. The key is self-control rather than self-esteem.
The Psalmist knew that it is God’s way for us to climb the climbing wave; as high as our heart and mind will take us. It isn’t likely that we will hit the heights in life unless we are willing to ride the climbing wave as opposed to always staying in calm waters.
Dr. M. Hildon Guy is President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River, Alaska and is a board member with Love INC of Eagle River.