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The moon was not up yet, and the road was dark. I drove along highway 61, coming home from Duluth. The road runs parallel to the shore of Lake Superior. Broken yellow lines dashed by in my left peripheral vision as I drove along. I kept looking toward the dark waters of the lake. I was hoping to see a ship at night.
To avoid the stronger, seasonal winds, big iron ore and freight ships may travel closer to shore. Headwinds are not their friend; traveling closer to the shore allows the natural terrain to work as a wind block. So, there it was. The ship I was hoping to see.
Lights from the crew's sleeping rooms, the workrooms, and other areas glow at night. The bridge sits on top of the other rooms. The pilot house is lit up like a small town five or six stories tall. Lights line the deck from bow to stern marking the walkways looking like light strings of Christmas lights. Soon, I spotted another boat, and then a third.
During the one-hour drive between Duluth and Silver Bay, I saw five ships in all. The vessels travel quietly under a black sky littered with stars too numerous to count. It was truly a beautiful sight, one that could easily go unnoticed.
The boats could have been fifteen or twenty miles out at sea through most of the shipping season. A distance where most people would not see them because of the earth's curvature. But whether I see them or not, the ships are there, silently doing their work.
They are there moving tons and tons of iron ore. Ore will be turned into steel, eventually becoming products we use daily. Items generally taken for granted, never giving thought to the ship hands that labored to bring us the steal.
Most of us relate to a higher power in our own ways. So, I began to correlate the ships to my faith. There are times when my faith is close. It is easy to see, close enough to grasp when I need it. Yet, other times, I am guilty of taking for granted all the goodness that comes to me through my faith.
Sometimes I fail to give credit where credit is due. I foolishly believe the good I produce is from my own hands, of my own making. As a result, I find false satisfaction, thinking I am in control when there is always a greater power behind me. A force that guides me, steering the ship on which I am traveling.
It was good to see the ships tonight. They offered more than just a pleasing, tranquil sight; they gave me a much-needed nudge. A reminder that I need to recognize the source of my blessing. I need to acknowledge that my good deeds result from the guidance that comes from above.
My evil deeds result from turning away from the word and the voice, thinking I can handle things on my own.
Jesus is my higher power, my source of strength. He is the light in my day. Even when I fail to see Him, he is still there protecting me. He is the ship that travels quietly on course through the night, whether I see it or not.
I am grateful for His presence in my life. I am blessed to be shown the way and to have accepted Him. I wish I were always mindful of Him, but sometimes I fail.
I love how He shows up in the most unexpected places when He needs to correct my course; set me straight. Times when He will touch my shoulder, saying, "Come this way. Follow me." He keeps me on the intended line where I am meant to be, and brings me back should the winds blow me off course.
Late fall is a fantastic time to drive the shoreline of Lake Superior. Seeing five ships in one night was not a coincidence. I look forward to seeing where I will find the vessel tomorrow. I pray that you, too, will see the beauty of a ship when it is close by and know in your heart that it is there even when you cannot see it.
Peace, my friend. May the wind always be at your back. I wish you smooth sailing today in calm waters.