I was probably four or five years of age at the time this happened. My mother took in laundry so that she could be with us as we were growing up and so we could attend our Adventist Church school. While she was ironing a businessman's shirts in the kitchen one day, she suddenly was impressed that she needed to pray for our dad who was a commercial fisherman. She dropped to her knees right there beside the ironing board and prayed for his safety. A week or two later when dad brought the Cygnet II to town to replenish water, fuel, and other supplies, my mother and father had an interesting conversation. Mom asked how things had gone. She shared with dad the huge fearful burden that she had carried that day. Dad asked what day it was and what time. When she replied, it was obvious to both of them that God had intervened in a dramatic way at that critical moment. Here is what happened:
Our dad, Erick Lindeman, had a crew of 5 men with him aboard the Cygnet II. It was the seining season. They were fishing the season opening on the outside waters (open ocean) just off the coast of Prince of Wales Island in Southeastern Alaska. Fishing had been fairly productive that morning but suddenly a dense fog settled over the seascape. They did one more blind set (could not see more than a few feet on either side of them) and then drifted waiting for the fog to lift. They waited it out until late afternoon, but the fog was still so dense that dad feared running into another seine boat or getting tangled up in another skipper’s seine net. Dad decided that it would be best to run into the bay, sell the morning catch, and anchor up while waiting for the fog to lift. Dad was at the wheel on the bridge while the other members of the crew were keeping a sharp lookout. One member of the crew was periodically sounding the foghorn and then all would listen intently for another boat to sound their foghorn or for the sound to bounce back which would indicate that there was an object near. Dad knew they must be close to the entrance of the bay because of the course he had plotted and the amount of time it would take to get there. To understand the dilemma more acutely, we need to realize that this area is totally uninhabited except for other fisherman in the area. There was no sound of car traffic or city noises; only the sound of the sea and the Cygnet II slicing through the rare calm waters off Prince of Wales Island and once in a while the muffled sound of a seagull or goony bird (albatross) screeching nearby. Dad was getting antsy knowing what was at stake with the crew and our family fishing boat when suddenly the fog in his small area lifted and dead ahead was the rocky shore. Dad’s calculations were 100 yards off. Within seconds they would have been on the rocks with who knows how much damage to the boat and crew, to say nothing about the lost time fishing which would add up to lost income for our family and that of the crew. In that split-second that the fog lifted dad was able to redirect the Cygnet II and calculate the entrance to the harbor where he then dropped the anchor. Because of the fog there was no more fishing that day, but at least the boat and all lives were safe. I was too young to really understand all that was involved in this incident. But as my mom and dad shared stories over the years I came to realize that this was just one of the many incidents where my mom and dad learned to Walk in the Light of God’s Word.
Commercial fisherman in the early 1950s didn't have radar or even a Loran (long range navigation device) for that matter. Everything was done by visual references, compass, and navigational calculations. Foggy conditions can be deadly. When we can see clearly in the daytime and are able to use the charts, compass, and fath-o-meter (depth sounder) to determine where we are, there is a sense of confidence that we’re safe. Even traveling at night in the open ocean or navigating inland passageways is safe when all things are working properly, and navigational buoys and lights are paid attention to.
It's the same way with life. When we cannot see, or our navigational equipment is faulty, we find ourselves in difficult and life-threatening circumstances. The WORD (the Bible) is God’s “life” manual. If we follow the truths found in it, as we “walk in the light” of His WORD we will grow into the men, women, and children that God Himself has designed us to be. If we ignore God’s truths and warnings, we will find ourselves being destroyed on the rocks of selfishness, greed, and ungodly living.
John records in his gospel these words of Jesus, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jesus is telling us to Walk in His Light. When we do, even when things seem to get foggy around us, He will provide us with all that is needed to stay on course.
Lord God, Since I know that You care for fishermen in danger, I know you care for us. Please help us to be open to the light of Your Word. Show us what we need to see about ourselves and assure us that you will help us to keep moving forward and upward in our relationship with You. Walking in Your light is not only important, is it absolutely necessary. Please give us the strength and courage to let Your Light reveal our sin. We ask right now for Holy Spirit conviction to surrender to the spiritual surgery that needs to be done in our lives. Come quickly Lord Jesus. In Jesus Name, amen
God Bless you, Pastor Bill Lindeman 2-12-21