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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bon Voyage (09/05/05)

TITLE: God Is In Our Midst
By Linda Miller


My sister, Beckie and I had heard “bon voyage” from family and friends as we departed eagerly for Florida. The idea of celebrating my sisters’ birthday on a cruise sounded both fun and exciting. The first day of our cruise to the Caribbean Islands had been blissful. The ocean had been calm and smooth as glass. The clouds had seemed extra white as they floated by overhead; turning to crimson as the sun set in the western sky.

The second day had been equally delightful, but by dusk it started raining. I noticed when we had gone to bed that night that the ship had started swaying with more intensity. I remember falling asleep wondering about the weather outside. We had been awakened by the sound of a siren over the intercom in our cabin. A calming voice had told us to put our life jackets on and go to our designated emergency, life-saving area. He explained that a dangerous thunderstorm had arisen and precautions were being taken. It was close to midnight and the ships rolling had been much more noticeable.

Grimacing and huffing we had struggled up two flights of stairs toward the Independence Deck. The climb had taken its toll on us both physically and mentally. We kept telling each other not to panic. I remembered during the life-saving drill, we had laughed heartily while we scurried around getting into our life jackets and making jokes about looking like a bunch of orange pumpkins. I was extremely happy that I listened carefully, although it had made me ill at ease listening to the ships emergency contingencies.

I remember finally making it to the deck. It had jolted roughly beneath our feet and we lost our balance and staggered forward. We had held each other up resolutely. The thunder was deafening, the lightning static. The wind and rain felt much more intense on the deck than it had in the stairwell. I was admittedly scared. Petrified was more like it.

We found our destination at last and huddled with the other passengers inside the room. The purser and his helpers had taken names, cabin numbers and helped everyone to find a place to sit. He had a calming affect on all of us with his steady tone of voice. We had looked around at the various voyagers. Some had been trying to get their shaking fingers to cooperate with the buckles on their lifejackets while others were moaning from the rocking motion. Beckie had met an elderly couple sitting to her right and introduced me to them. Their names were Casey and Ethel Brownlow. After talking to them for a few minutes we found out we were all Christians. Ethel had said loudly, “Casey, lead us in a prayer. I would feel better if we prayed about this storm.” It had amazed me, looking around I saw other passengers bowing their heads to pray with us. It had given me a warm feeling to know we weren’t alone. Huddled together we had bowed our heads. “Lord, You know everything,” Casey had spoke loudly over the wind. “Keep this ship and its passengers and crew in Your hands. All of us are asking for Your intervention. Quiet the storm about us and let it pass quickly. Be in the midst of us and bring peace. In Jesus name, Amen.” We had smiled at one another in spite of the circumstances.

The storm had subsided quickly and we had thanked God for His faithfulness. The purser had told us to go back to our cabins shortly before 1:00 AM. We walked Casey and Ethel back to their cabin promising to meet the next day and get better acquainted.

I got a letter from Ethel yesterday. They were going to Alaska on a cruise ship. She had asked me to pray for their safety. I don’t think any of us will take that prayer for granted anymore. By the way, the rest of our cruise was clear sailing.

Psalm 107: 27-30
They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. (NIV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/13/05
What an exciting cruise! You could tighten up your writing by eliminating most instances of the word "had" in phrases like "had heard," "had struggled," and "had jolted." Nice ending.
Phyllis Inniss09/19/05
Excitement and fear on your cruise, but God was in your midst. You conveyed these emotions very well in your entry. Thanks for sharing.