The Lighthouse

Two ships were quickly racing toward each other in the night, both refusing to change their course. “Captain, look quick, there’s another ship in our lane,” came the report of the sailor. He had been watching the radar and his safety distance alarm had alerted him of a possible collision.

The captain quickly reached for his VHF radio, just as a call came in. “Change your course 15° to the south to avoid collision.” Irritated, the captain answered, “No, you change your course 15° to the north to avoid collision.”

“It is impossible for us to change course. Sir, you must change your course 15° south to….”

Before the sailor could finish his sentence, the Captian shouted. “No, you change your course. I am the Captian of this vessel. We are a US navy destroyer. I order you to change course.”

Quickly came the reply. “Captain, with all due respect, sir. I am a seaman second class and this is the lighthouse.”

Sailing through life, we are often on a collision course racing towards immovable obstacles that, if we don’t change course, can shipwreck our lives. This happens because of our belief. The Captian of the ship believed that because he was Captian of a US Navy destroyer, he outranked, what he perceived as a lesser ship. What he didn’t realize was that no matter what he believed about the other “ship,” or the power of his rank, the lighthouse could not change course. He was headed straight towards disaster.

What we believe matters. We live in a day and age where we are told that we can believe whatever we want. We hear this in social media, movies, news, and our schools. Politicians around the world shout their beliefs, challenge us to defy them and do everything they can to force us to believe what they tell us to believe. Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda for Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime, had one job and one job only. Change what people believe. He became the director of what was called the Chamber of Culture, and controlled the press, radio, theatre, films, literature, music, the fine arts, and schools. ( biography/Joseph-Goebbels) He told people what to believe and because he was a master orator, they believed everything he told them. Like the Captain of the Navy Destroyer, Goebbels fought with the lighthouse. One day, after Adolf Hitler killed himself, Goebbels’ life was also wrecked as he poisoned his six children, and he and his wife committed suicide. They had believed a lie and their life ended, because of what they believed. It matters what we believe.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but so to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith. ASV

We do not have a faith problem; we have a belief problem. In Romans 12:3 we are told every man has a measure of faith. Every man, woman, and child has a measure of faith. Faith is not our problem. We all have faith. It doesn’t matter if we are of a different religion, a different race, a different country, a different language. Everyone has faith.

Whenever I enter New York City, I notice the bridges, the highways, the public transportation systems, and high-rise buildings. I am struck by the measure of faith someone had to build each and everyone of those towers, bridges, and elevated trains. In particular, I am awed by the George Washington Bridge, built in 1927-1931. It is a double-decker bridge with fourteen lanes and is the world’s busiest vehicular bridge. Today (2024), almost one hundred years later, it along with seven other bridges and the Lincoln tunnel, stands as an incredible tribute to someone who had faith, and believed. That man was Othmar Ammann. He was an immigrant who believed he could design a light and inexpensive suspension bridge, and convinced politicians and the local government that it was an excellent investment. Ammann acted on his faith, believing it could be done. ( history.html)

Ammann had a measure of faith. You and I have faith. What we believe about our faith empowers us, challenges us, or destroys us. Our belief in our faith determines our future. It challenges the status quo. It cements one’s faith, and it can both give and take away hope. What you believe is important. It determines our tomorrows. What you believe matters. The Captain of the navy destroyer believed that because he outranked the seaman second class, he could determine his course. He was in charge. His orders were to be followed. What he believed, had he not changed course, would have killed him and his crew.

What do you believe? One dark and scary night, the Apostle Paul urged his jailor to believe in the Lord Jesus – the Messiah, assuring him that he and his entire family would be saved. What an amazing statement. Believe in Jesus. Perhaps your ship is on a collision course with death…believe on Jesus. Activate your faith, and give him your life. Trust him, and put your confidence in him. Believe that he can and will steer your ship. Because what you believe matters.

Acts 16:25-34 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison-house were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the jailor, being roused out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. And he called for lights and sprang in, and, trembling for fear, fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. And they spake the word of the Lord unto him, with all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately. And he brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his house, having believed in God. ASV © Debby Davis 2024