Crossing the Bar

channel markerI love South Alabama, especially the area around Bayou La Batre and Dauphin Island. When we visit, we have priceless friends, a wonderful place to stay, a great church family, and of course the beautiful coast line and the Island. I can sit for hours on the deck by water’s edge and watch boats of all sizes pass by. I have observed with interest the barges, shrimp boats, and other watercraft ply the waters in and around Mobile Bay, especially the section between Dauphin Island and the mainland. These waters can be especially dangerous to pilots because of shallow areas and sandbars.

The Marine Authority has placed various navigational aids throughout the area. Channel markers, day markers, cans, and buoys, all help the pilots avoid potentially dangerous spots in the vicinity. If a pilot carelessly misses a marker or chooses to ignore them, it could be disastrous.

The poet William Earnest Henley wrote, “I am the master of my fate: the captain of my soul.” Our Creator  has endowed us with the gift of freewill. We may choose our direction and our destiny. We are captains of our own souls. As we negotiate the waters of life on our probationary journey through our allotted days, our heavenly Father has provided us with navigational aids. 

Our Omnipotent God is willing to guide us through treacherous waters. King David said of God, “Thy way is in the sea, thy path in the great waters…” (Psalm 77:19, KJV). He knows the way. His word provides us with the needed channel markers. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).  However, we must know that we are free to ignore these channel markers to our own peril.

In 1889, three years before his death, Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote his masterpiece – Crossing the Bar. He uses the metaphor of a sandbar to describe the barrier between life and death. He writes, “And may there be no moaning of the bar, when I put out to sea”. He prays that he will not hear the fearful moaning sound of running aground or lapping of the waves in shallow water.

You may choose to live so as not to hear the ‘moaning of the bar’. Follow the Lord’s channel markers.  They will guide you safely to the other side.

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”  (Proverbs 3:6)

~ Brother Roy


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