In the days before commercial flights on aeroplanes, people travelled by sea. I remember hearing the story of a minister who had visited America; and on his way home by ship there was a great disaster. The ship caught fire and sank. The minister was one of the very few who had managed to get on board a lifeboat. After a long and hazardous journey the lifeboat passengers landed to a tumultuous welcome. The story was in all the newspapers; and the minister was a sought-after guest speaker at Women’s Guilds, Men’s Clubs and Friendship Clubs all across the land. The minister delighted in telling the story of his adventure; and stressing the wonderful miracle that God had cared for him and saved him from a dreadful death.
One day the Archbishop of Dublin happened to be in the audience. In giving the Vote of Thanks he said: “What a wonderful miracle indeed; but I can tell you something better than that - which actually happened to me!”
Everyone was amazed because they all thought that they knew their archbishop so well; and no one could ever remember hearing of a great adventure in his life. The Archbishop told them, however, that a few weeks ago he had sailed on the ferry from Ireland across to Liverpool. Pausing for dramatic effect, he said: “And do you know, that by God’s mercy, the ferry didn’t catch fire, and we all arrived safely!” Nothing untoward had happened.
We make such a fuss, don’t we, about the great, special and unusual events; but we take the ordinary, everyday things for granted. The ordinary things of life, however, vastly outnumber the crises and the major events. God’s everyday care of us often gets overlooked. If we have a narrow escape in a car accident, we give thanks to God. But how many of us remember to give God thanks for the thousands of incident free miles we regularly travel? We are so grateful to God when we recover from a serious illness; but it is so easy to forget to give thanks for all the years of good health that we enjoy. It is good to be mindful of, and thankful for, God’s constant, everyday care of us.
Liz joins me in sending our love to you all.