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Ann Farabee: Ship coming in?

My ship came in once, but I was at the airport. (Sounds like me.)

Why does a seagull fly over the sea? Because if he flew over the bay, he would be a bagel.

Okay. Enough of the nautical humor…

The saying, “One day my ship will come in” dates back to the 19th century, when Bristol, England was one of the busiest seaports in the world. When sailors were away at sea, credit would be extended to their wives by the tradesmen until their husband’s “ship came in.”

Now when we speak of our ship coming in, it is thought of as a dream of better times coming our way.

Can you imagine a time like what was experienced in Bristol? Tough circumstances. Hard work. Finances suffered. The women had to care for the children alone. No modern conveniences. Loneliness — at home or at sea.

I can almost sense the emotion the women must have felt as they looked out to the harbor daily, hoping to see that their “ship had come in.” Hoping for that better time.

How must the husbands have felt? They were probably counting the minutes until they could get home to see their loved ones, and overcome the harsh circumstances at sea.

Surely, they encountered storms along the way, but storms don’t last forever. They didn’t give up, because they knew the sun would shine again.

Surely, the wind — and heat or cold — often seemed overpowering, but they learned to hold on until it ceased.

Surely, they sometimes had to change course, creating some fear and doubt, but they learned to trust the captain.

Surely, there was sickness, disease, and lack of food. But, they had to stay with the ship. It was their way home.

One day… they looked across the horizon, and saw home! Yes, their ship was coming in!

The women — no doubt — looked out to sea that same day — and there it was! Their ship was coming in.

What I love about this story is that the people of Bristol were real — just like those who today may be boarding a ship in the Port of Miami or on a cargo ship in the Port of Shanghai or on a naval ship serving our country. Just like all of us, really. They had problems and situations that were every bit as painful — if not more painful — than what we all go through.

God provided for them in the same way He provides for us — calming the wind and storms, changing our course as needed, ministering to us in times of difficulty, and providing our necessities of life.

I envision some day in heaven, talking with one of the men or women from Bristol, England, who will share how their ship came in. No doubt, I will hear how Jesus caused the storms and waves in their lives to be still, like in Psalm 107:29. Or… how Jesus reached out and caught them — yes, caught them — when the winds of life became too boisterous, like in Matthew 14:30-31. Or… how Jesus was a strength to them when they were poor and needy, and a refuge for them in the storm, and even a shadow from the heat, like in Isaiah 25:4.

And, I will understand…. because Jesus did all that for me.

As we continue each day to sail on the sea of life, we know that we are headed to that safe harbor — where the anchor will hold, and we will be reunited with loved ones who are already there. And… we are promised that it will be a better time — a time that we can now only dream of.

Yes, we will have our MemberSHIP in a place called heaven.

But… for today, how and where should we spend our time?

Maybe worSHIP? Or fellowSHIP? Or discipleSHIP? They are super ships to be on!

Contact Ann at annfarabee@gmail.com or visit annfarabee.com

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