Once there was a ship, sailing on the Sea of Life, it tossed to and fro upon the waves, shuddering and groaning under the strain. The Sea of Life is constantly inflamed by hurricanes of doubt, anguish, and heartache. Occasionally with these storms, a calm lapses over the waters for a time. But alas, the waves double in furry to sink both ship and passenger once the calm passes over. On this ship, we discover two people: the captain, and one passenger. The passenger lives on the 7th deck of the ship all by himself. The captain and passenger set sail many years ago, and have been struggling through the never-ending storm to reach a magnificent city in a better land. The captain, straining constantly to see through a dirty and broken telescope, is near to giving up out of sheer weakness and discouragement. He has been fighting the storm for many a day; he is ready to let the ship go on its own course and be dashed by the storm and the many rocks poking out from the ocean.
At this moment the passenger from the 7th deck appears. Dressed in simple garments, the man seems unperturbed by the heaving ship and walks slowly but purposefully to where the captain is fighting the lurching vessel. Quietly, but loudly enough to be heard over the storm, the man offers, “Shall I take over the ship?” The captain, insulted, feeling that he has had years experience more than his passenger, answers with a less than polite tone, “No! I am the captain in command and am in need of nothing!” The man does not force himself, but steps aside and lets the captain continue in vain to struggle. Shortly the ship dashes against a rock. So great is the impact that both captain and passenger are injured. The mysterious passenger, a skilled craftsman, repairs the damage to the ship. As they sail away, the man asks again, “Shall I take the helm?” Despite his pride, the captain apprehensively hands over the helm, giving full control of the ship to his passenger. Taking some of the blood that he has shed, the man washes the dirty telescope, improving on its original condition. As the ship plows through the waters of life, the rocks slowly begin to disappear, and when the ship is almost ready to hit a rock, it disappears! The captain, amazed at this phenomenon, becomes jealous of another man steering his ship better than he and jerks the helm back into his own hands. The man does not force himself and lets go with a willing hand. Surprisingly, when the captain picks up the telescope, it is dirtier than ever before! As soon as the captain takes over the ship, the waves and winds pick up in intensity, and more rocks appear in the ocean.
Again the ship is dashed against the rocks. Again the men are injured. Again the humble passenger repairs the damaged ship. Again he offers, “Shall I take the helm?” Finally realizing his inability to reach their destination, the captain willingly hands over the command of the ship. The man grasps the helm with the hands of an experienced seaman and sails on. The captain questions the humble passenger in amazement, “Have you ever sailed before?” The man answers in his quiet way, “Yes, I have accompanied every person who has ever crossed this Sea.” “And have all made a safe crossing?” “No,” he replies, “Most have not trusted me in my knowledge of rebuilding their wrecked ships. Eventually, I was compelled to abandon them, and they sank to the bottom of the ocean, forever lost. They made a choice; I could do no other. But a few like thyself have placed complete trust in me and have crossed safely.” The proud captain is humbled, and in deep contrition, pleads for forgiveness. The man forgives him and together they continue on through the storm.
Toward the end of their journey, the captain realizes that the storm has abated. The ship sails up to a beautiful shore, filled with wonderful sounds of birds singing songs of praise. What a change from the constant blowing of the wind and lashing of the waves! After many years at sea, the captain and the man departs from the worn old ship. As they approach, a shout is heard behind them. The ship, tired from all its travel and hardships, sank out of sight. The captain was not at all sad to see the ship go and continued on with a light heart. Arriving at the city with his companion, the captain saw some that he recognized from his old country. The captain was then presented with new robes of shining white and a gold crown. “But what about my passenger? He was the one that brought me here safely,” the captain questioned. The man now dressed as a King of Kings and Lord of Lords replies to the awe-stricken captain, “My son, your troubles are over. Come, and enter into the joy of this better land.”
Sin, pain, and trouble are experienced by every person on earth. Not of God’s choice are we without help but of our own free will. The opportunity of assistance through perilous times knocks at our hearts’ door. The proud hold tight to the helm, but only the humble survive through the Sea of Life and reach the desired destination.