April 2, 2021

The Ship Is Free!

Tugboats honked their horns, watching children played in jubilation, and the world breathed a collective sigh of relief as the Ever Given was finally freed.

This massive ship, 194 feet (59 meters) wide and 1,300 feet (400 meters) long, bigger than the Empire State Building, had been stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week, causing major disruption in international trade and global panic.

Experts believe that strong winds may have pushed the Ever Given off its course, causing the ship to get lodged diagonally in the sand along both banks of the Suez Canal.

This very important waterway that flows through Egypt was built in 1869, connecting Europe with Asia and the rest of the world, and now facilitates 12 percent of the world’s trade. More than 380 ships were forced to await clearance to sail through the canal at either end of the waterway. The Ever Given’s blockage was costing $400 million per hour in delays in the delivery of food, vital equipment, and fuel to the world. Supply chain experts predict a global shortage of commodities from food to toilet paper and anything in between. Suez statistics reveal that more than 50 ships, 3.2 million tons of cargo, and 1.9 million barrels of oil pass through this canal daily. 

Gospel News

So the world welcomes the good news that the Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, stacked 14 stories high, and stuck in the mud and sand from March 23, 2021 to March 29, 2021, has finally been freed. Imagine: 10 tugboats, two dredges, and international collaboration to unstick one boat! The ship was moved to open waters to await the high tide, to sail to a wider area of the canal, where it would be inspected for damage. The Suez Canal—a maritime engineering and global shipping feat — may require approximately another week to be cleared of all the ships currently awaiting passage through it.

The winds that deviated the mighty Ever Given from its course are not the only furious gusts that menace humanity’s stability. Every year there is a global season of angry winds — called hurricanes in one part of our world and typhoons in another. The varied labels do not mean much. If they did, then names like Ever Given and its shipping company, Evergreen Marine, would surely mean that we were in for something serene and beautiful. So it is not the labels that make the difference.

Image is not everything, but Jesus certainly is. Everything good, at any rate. Jesus, Creator of the universe and Master of reality, counts both by His name and in His person. When He commands the gusting winds, they are calmed. He reaches down to grasp and rescue lost humans, and they are saved. He is one with His name. The angel of the Lord told Joseph,  “Give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). And as winds obeyed His command on the sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41), so will the winds of disruption and sin in our lives, if we allow Him to speak. We may be stuck in situations that make progress look impossible. But Jesus can clear up any disaster in our lives. 

The words of Mary Baker’s hymn come to mind: “Master the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high!” The words of the refrain bring me wonderful assurance:

“The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,

Peace, be still!

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,

Or demons or men, or whatever it be,

No water can swallow the ship where lies

The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;

They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,

Peace, be still! Peace, be still!

They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,

Peace, peace, be still!”

What comforts me the most is the knowledge that for Jesus, the size of the boat is no problem. He fixes huge container ships as simply, as effortlessly as He rescues little boats; He’ll care for your insurmountable problems as effectively as He will every little care you throw on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). He’ll haul us free from all the sand banks and clear the great canal of life so we can all sail free! He’ll calm every storm and bring every craft safely to the heavenly shore, our final destination, so long as we give Him a chance.

That’s something you could do today, if you wanted—give Him a chance. He’ll put the words of praise on your lips. You’ll hear yourself shouting, “The canal is open! My ship is free!”