The recent loss of the fishermen in a boating accident in the waters off Gloucester, and the dedication of the moving monument to the wives and children of fishermen lost at sea, reminded me of the simple yet eloquent prayer offered by every sailor who sets off to sea – “Keep us, our God; for your ocean is so wide and our boat is so small.”

How truly beautiful those words are. They speak to us with a special meaning precisely because we understand that they might well be uttered by each of us at some point on our sometimes difficult journey on the sea of life. We are so weak, so helpless, and yet so forgetful of our God’s loving kindness. Tossed to and fro at the mercy of circumstance, we would likely perish if He did not hold us in his providential care.

At times the challenges and difficulties of life threaten to overwhelm us. We sense our weaknesses and our inability to overcome them. The problems we face are so great and perplexing that we feel they have no solution. Our pain can be so deep that it seems to have no end. We feel like crying out to God in the words of the psalmist “I am poor and needy . . . you are my help and my deliverer.” (70:5).

It is precisely then, when the storm is strongest and at its most threatening, that we need to remember that when we call upon God and cast ourselves on Him with simple trust, we can be sure that His great power and wisdom will carry us through even the greatest tribulation and deliver us to the safe water of a calm harbor. And so, even thought we each journey in a “small boat” on a “wide ocean”, we can surely trust our God to guide and protect us even in the worst of storms. We need only ask him to keep us this day, and every day that yet remains.