When the great explorer Shackleton was on his quest for the South Pole, he was at one time driven back, and was compelled to leave some of his men on Elephant Island, though he promised that he would return for them. But when he endeavored to get back, he found a sea of ice between him and the island.
What should he do? He had promised, and he must keep his word. He tried to reach them, but failed. He tried again and again, but without success. Beyond the ice were his trusting companions, who had every confidence in him. They had only a few supplies with them. At that time of the year it seemed folly to hope for any favorable change in the weather, and he was told that there was absolutely no hope of getting his little boat, the “Yalcho,” through the great ice barrier to Elephant Island.
He could not be inactive. He must reach his men; so at the risk of losing his boat and the lives of his crew, he pushed in nearer to the island; and unexpectedly there came an opening in the ice. He hurried in, rescued his men, and in an hour was back again with all on board. Had they been delayed only a few minutes, their frail vessel would have been destroyed by the crashing of the ice as it closed in.
When they were sure they were beyond danger and the nervous tension was over, Shackleton said to one of the rescued companions, “Well, you were packed and ready, weren’t you?” “Yes,” came back the reply, “we never lost hope. We believed you would come for us, even though circumstances were unfavorable. You had promised, and we expected you; so each morning we rolled up our sleeping bags and packed all our equipment, that we might be ready.” And now they were all safe and homeward bound, happy that they had been prepared daily.
Before Jesus departed from this world, He left a definite promise in John 14:1-4. The Lord is not slack concerning His promises.
By Charles L. Paddock, Signs of the Times, June 14, 1932. Thanks to Dale E. Galusha Pacific Press Ministries firstname.lastname@example.org