As we look back on the Columbus voyage and how the sailors felt like giving up, we can apply this to our spiritual life.
“Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in 1492.” Thanks to that little ditty, we all remember the year of the historic Columbus voyage. But we can also remember a basic truth about the spiritual life as we find God this Columbus Day…
On October 12, 1492, some very weary sailors rejoiced at sighting land. The previous month, Christopher Columbus had set sail with three ships looking for a short route to the Indies. During the voyage, there were a number of false sightings, which led to dashed hopes as the days went by. After three weeks of sailing, which was the longest anyone had ever sailed in one direction out of sight of land, Columbus had to convince the men to carry on.
By October 10, resentment among the sailors had grown almost into a mutiny. Columbus persuaded the crew to sail on for three more days, promising they would turn back if no land was sighted. Two days later, at two o’clock in the morning, a lookout spotted an island in the distance that Columbus named San Salvador.
We all feel like giving up sometimes. After struggling with a difficult relationship for a long time, we’re tempted to call it quits. After years of witnessing and praying for someone to come to Christ, we get discouraged. Sometimes we just get weary of trying to do the right thing and not seeing any return for our efforts. The Bible encourages us to not give up.
Let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
Turning back is not an option in the Christian life. When many of Jesus’ disciples deserted him, he asked the twelve if they wanted to leave too. Peter asked, “Lord, to whom would we go?” (John 6:68). There is nothing behind us worth returning to. Ahead of us is God’s promise that if we don’t give up, we’ll reap a harvest of blessings at just the right time. If we keep doing what’s right and trusting God for the outcome, any day now we may sight just what we’re looking for. And just as the sailors on the Columbus voyage found land, we will find God—and that’s the greatest discovery we could ever make.
© Dianne Neal Matthews (www.DianneNealMatthews.com). Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. This article is adapted from her book, The One Year on This Day (Tyndale House).
Here’s a clip, from YouTube, on a story in the Bible dramatizing another group of sailors and their fears– and how Jesus calmed them.