So many are referring to the storm that is upon us. We all react differently when going through such trials. I have thought a lot about different Storm stories in my book, “The Spear of Destiny – The Journey Begins”. I would like to share a chapter and hope you can see the meanings within it as well as the struggle. How the Lord always provides a way when nothing looks possible but doom. Please enjoy it.
TEMPEST STORM AT SEA
On the ship bound for Greece, Mary and Longinus finally found some privacy away from Suzanna and Josiah. Longinus asked Mary, “What is for us in Greece?” Mary answered, “I do not know. But if that is where the Lord leads us, that is where we must go.”
Longinus looked at Mary as she sadly looked back at the shoreline.
Mary leaned forward over the bow, watching until the city had faded away in the distance and the last scent of olive trees had long passed. Her eyes had grown weary from gazing upon the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Longinus stood next to her and wondered at the things they had experienced and how the Lord had shown them their way. He wondered what the Lord would show them next.
Longinus and Mary gazed out upon the waters as the moon cast a shine upon the waves causing them to shimmer as they rippled across the sea. It was a beautiful night.
They watched until their eyes were heavy, and they knew it was time to go to their assigned quarters and get some sleep. Morning would come all too soon.
“We must tell Suzanna and Tobias good night. They have been so gracious to us,” said Mary, and Longinus nodded in agreement. They walked over to the other side of the ship and found their friends.
Suzanna and Tobias were busy bickering about a many number of inconveniences one of them was sea travel and only stopped long enough to bid Mary and Longinus good night.
“I can’t believe there is nothing to do but look out over this dreadful sea…oh, are you leaving?” asked Suzanna to Mary.
“It has been a long day, we go now to get some sleep.”
“Well, if you can…I hope you rest well. Tobias, tell me again why you thought travel by sea would be good, why I haven’t the slightest idea how you think such things?”
“Suzanna, have some smoked fish…it was a good price,” he said as he tore a piece and put it in his mouth. “It is not fresh,” he grumbled.
“The man told me it was fresh.”
“Well, that is what you get from believing a merchant in the market.”
Mary and Longinus looked at each other and shook their heads. As they walked away, the bickering faded into the distance.
Longinus said, “They love being so.” Mary giggled.
“How do you know them?” he asked.
“Oh, I don’t really. I met Suzanna a few times in Jerusalem. Each time she talked and talked and told me what she thought of things. I only listened.”
“But Josiah seemed to know you?”
“I never met him before today. He was being cordial for Suzanna.”
Longinus gave Mary a puzzled look and said, “All I can say is I’m glad he was cordial.”
Mary and Longinus nestled into their meager quarters. There was not much room, but it was enough. They had to share the same sleeping space, and Longinus was careful not to touch Mary’s body.
Mary was pleased with his respect and thanked him. “Sleep well, and thank you for being so mindful.”
“Ah…yes. Sleep well,” he said.
The ship continued to sail, and the passengers were fast asleep. A warm, soothing breeze whispered through the air, over the calm waters. The night’s serenity was accompanied by the sound of gentle waves, rippling against the side of the ship. All was at peace in the Mediterranean Sea.
Then, halfway through the night, the sky began to darken, and ominous black rolling clouds covered the moon and hid the beautiful constellation of the stars. The peaceful waters began to form slashing waves with foaming white caps.
“There is a storm coming, slacken the sails!” shouted a sailor as he looked at the sky and watched the waves beating at the front of the stern.
“Tighten the rudder rope!” yelled another. “It looks like a tempest. It came out of nowhere!” The sailors worked frantically to prepare the ship for the coming storm. They watched and wondered where this storm came from and how bad it would be. The boat began to rock and heave on the water. The passengers were all sound asleep. Then a bolt of lightning cracked in the sky and a thunderous roar followed in an instant. It is directly over our heads!” shouted the sailor.” I’ve never seen anything so fierce in these waters!”
“Grab hold of the ropes and hold this lady in place!” shouted the ship’s captain.
The heavy pounding waves fiercely knocked at the ship’s stern with great violence. The captain feared it would soon be broken up.
“Alert the passengers—awaken them!” he shouted. “It looks like it may be every man for himself!”
Many of the people were already awake and coming out onto the deck. They slid as the boat heaved and rocked. Many were not able to get a sure footing for the deck was filling fast with water. Waves kept slashing over the sides and into the ship. Barrels and bins of merchant goods were sliding into the passengers as they waded through the water. They grabbed at anything that looked secure enough to hang on to. Longinus and Mary awoke. They ran to the steps that led to the top of the deck and were met by a wave of water knocking them backward. They slid in the water.
Longinus shouted to Mary, “Grab my hand!” She took hold and he pulled her toward him and they made their way to the top. “Hang on to this!” he hollered at Mary as he threw her a rope bound to the side of the deck. “No matter what, do not let go!”
“I won’t,” shouted Mary.
Longinus joined the men who were fighting to hold the rudder in place with ropes. He fixed his strong hands around the rope and pulled with all his weight and might against it. He held it steadfast. The ship was making cracking sounds and the mast was weaving back and forth as though it might break into. “Steady her!” shouted
the captain through the sound of the roaring waves and the rolling thunder.
“We have to turn her around!” shouted Longinus. “Toward the shore!” The captain looked over and shouted, “Get her turned around, loosen the rudder ropes, and hold her steady!”
The men fought to get the ship turned; finally, they were able to do so. The captain then shouted, “Hoist the main sail—hoist it now!” They hoisted the sail and the blasting wind pushed into it with such force; the men feared the sail might tear apart. The ship shot toward the shore with lightning speed, without any oarsmen, without any help. Parts of the stern were being knocked apart from the great force of the violent waves hitting it.
Mary was holding on to the rope with all her strength, then suddenly, it snapped. She went sliding backward to the back of the ship slushing through the water, slapping into the wall of the stern. She grabbed hold of a bar and hung on tight.
The captain knew he had to slow the ship down, so he shouted, “Lower the anchors. All of them!”
One of the passengers tried to escape by lowering a lifeboat; he no sooner lowered it down with the rope and the wind caught it, sending it upward, straight out in the air. The rope holding it snapped like a tender twig, sending the boat hurling across the water as though someone had shot it from a sling.
The men fought to keep the ship steady in the storm for hours; somehow, the ship held together as it continued to drive itself with
lightning speed toward the shore. The men held on to the sides of the ship and braced themselves. That was all they could do as the ship seemed to have a mind of its own.
The shore was in sight and the ship was getting closer and closer and not slowing down. The captain shouted, “You can’t jump, she goes too fast. Shield your heads and hang on for your life.”
Longinus looked over at Mary who was clinging to a bar at the stern of the ship. He shouted, “Get down, shield yourself!”
Mary could not hear him. He shouted again, “Get down! Shield yourself, when this hits, the stern will break apart!” Longinus tied a rope around the mast pole, left enough slack to reach the stern, and then took the end and tied it to his waist, leaving a good length. He coiled the extra length of rope around his arm and made his way toward Mary. It was hard to move forward against the force of the wind and the speed of the ship, but he inched his way there. He saw the stern was breaking up. There was but a little window of time to get Mary to the front of the ship.
He threw her the rope and shouted, “Tie this around your waist and take my hand.”
Mary struggled to hang on and tie the rope at the same time. She finally did it, then reached out her hand to Longinus. He grabbed it and Mary let go of the bar just as the stern ripped apart, sending the bar flying. Longinus pulled Mary to him. “Hold on tight to me!” he shouted. Mary clung to him as they fought the strength of the wind and made their way to the mast in the middle. He shouted, “If she hits the shallows at this speed, she could shake apart!” But before he and Mary could do anything more, the ship hit the shallows. Mary clung to Longinus. The ship was vibrating and shaking as it skidded in the shallows. It continued to skid past the sands on the shore, skidding and burying the bow deep into the sand. Pieces of the ship were breaking apart and flying in the air. The ship was slowing, but it was still sliding and burying deeper into the sand.
Longinus looked out and saw a wall of canyon rock just ahead and braced himself and Mary for what he thought was a direct hit. Suddenly, the ship stopped two inches before it hit the wall of rock. The bow was buried so deep in the sand one could just step off it onto the ground.
They looked around; miraculously, no one was seriously hurt. Then, a familiar voice was heard, “I paid good coin for this smoked fish and now it’s full of nothing but saltwater. Wasted, it is nothing but wasted!” It was Josiah.
“Oh, stop your squabbling, Josiah, and go see what the captain is going to do about getting us to Greece!”
“Greece? Suzanna, I will see what he will do about returning our coins! We paid for safe passage! This is not safe passage!”
Longinus and Mary looked at each other with surprise. They looked over at Suzanna and Josiah who were safe and well. They seemed very content to stand and bicker. They looked back at each other and laughed. Mary said, “In the middle of the most dangerous life-threatening time, God has given us joy through our friends.”
NOTE: SKIPPING ONE CHAPTER THAT IS ANOTHER SCENE TAKING PLACE….WE COME TO THE REST OF THIS STORY….SHOWING JUST THE FIRST PAGE in the chapter “Divine Intervention”….
As the people got off the ship, the captain was trying hard to keep some type of order during the chaos. “We will assess where we are and let you know how we plan to make passage. For now, the ship is buried deep and in need of great repair. Two at a time can come aboard and gather whatever belongings the sea did not take.”
Longinus anticipated getting his haversack and hoped it was intact. As he waited for his turn to board ship and seek it, he looked up at the sky and the direction of the sun. He looked at the horizons. Then he looked at Mary and said, “Do you have any idea what shore we are on?”
Mary answered, “I do not know. I only know this is the Lord’s doing. He will show us what we need. For last night, an angel of the Lord, whom I serve, stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary. The powers of darkness have sought to sift you as wheat, but God has sent me to intervene. Know that God has taken what the devil meant for evil and has turned it into good. He has called you to return to Jerusalem. Your ship will be struck by a storm at sea, but God has graciously given you safety, and the lives of all who sail with you.’”
Longinus was very amazed. He marveled at this thing that Mary told. He thought about it and asked, “So is this how the Lord fights for us against the principalities and powers of evil?”
“Yes,” answered Mary.