Ships That Pass

by | Oct 15, 2022 | Great Commission, Guidance, Witnessing

My tablemate and I were discussing how unexpectedly matters seem to develop. She is the aunt of my deceased daughter-in-law, and I first met her over four decades ago. Now, with all the things that have transpired over those many years, we are both living in a residence and sitting at the same table, sharing meals prepared for us.

Eileen quoted a phrase from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Ships that pass in the night”, and I recalled an experience that I had in 1959.

My wife and I were travelling by ship from Montreal, Canada, to Southampton, England. At the same time, my aunt and uncle sailed from Liverpool, England, to Montreal.

Each party shared this knowledge with the captains of our vessels, in the hope that we could communicate somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic during our seven-day journey.

Late one evening, my wife and I received word that we were to proceed to the captain’s deck, since my aunt and uncle’s vessel was drawing near.

As the lights grew brighter, the captains of each vessel connected and then allowed my aunt and uncle to have a brief but meaningful conversation with my wife and me.

As I recalled this experience, I realized that there were several spiritual lessons that I learned that day. In order to connect with my aunt and uncle, I had to speak to my captain, listen to him, believe in him, and follow his directions, or I would have been lost. I could have paced the ship’s deck day and night, and perhaps even seen lights in the distance but never would have had the pleasure of a meaningful radio conversation.

Similarly, to enjoy the abundant life, we must acknowledge God as our Captain, speak to Him in prayer, listen to Him, believe in Him, and follow His directions.

We interact daily with so many, even in times of COVID-19 restrictions. Although we may feel that we are like passing ships and that we may never see one another again, we are called by God to share His love in kindness. What really matters is how we treat the passing ships that we meet.

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 NLT)

The important thing is that we listen to our God and follow His command to sow seeds of kindness in even small matters and then leave the rest to Him.

I am reminded of the words of the great hymn, “Bringing in the sheaves”.

“Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.”

Prayer: Dear Father, we are grateful that You are ever-present, showing us the way. Help us to accept Your leading and show Your loving kindness in everything that we do. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2021, by Vincent Walter <>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Ships That Pass