Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Columbus’ Mighty Prayer

Christopher Columbus had an inspired dream of crossing the ocean. He petitioned many people to find somebody to invest in this inspired dream. Finally, after 20 years, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand agreed to support his venture. Columbus wrote of his struggle, “Our Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my [adventurous enterprise] called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?” (Jacob Wassermann, Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1930) p. 19–20)

On the evening of August 3, 1492, Columbus left from Spain with three ships, the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. On October 10, 1492, 68 days after leaving Spain, Columbus’ crew began to lose hope of ever reaching their destination. The crew expressed fear that the nearly continuous winds blowing from east to west might make it impossible to return home. Frightened that they would die at sea, his officers and crew demanded that they turn back and return to Spain. Columbus could only answer that God had given them the weather to take them this far, and He would give them proper weather to get back home. Unconvinced that the matter should be left entirely in God’s hands, Columbus’ crew threatened to kill him if he did not consent to their request. Columbus urged them to reconsider and proposed a compromise. Columbus suggested that if land was not found after two more days, they would turn back. The officers and crew accepted the compromise. That night in his cabin, Columbus, “prayed mightily to the Lord.” (Words written by Columbus in his ship log, October 11, 1492; Bill Halamandaris, The Heart of America: Ten Core Values That Make Our Country Great, Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2004) p. 30)

On October 11, they spotted land birds and other signs of nearing land and at 2 a.m. “. . . on October 12th, with the Pinta sailing ahead, the weather cleared. In the moonlight one of the sailors on the Pinta, Juan Rodriquez Bermejo, saw a white sand beach and land beyond it. After his shout of ‘Land! Land!’ the Pinta’s crew raised a flag on its highest mast and fired a cannon.”(William D. Phillips, Jr. and Carla Rahn Phillips, The Worlds of Christopher Columbus, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992) p. 152–153) They had arrived at an island which Columbus called San Salvador (holy Savior), which today is an island in the Bahamas. Columbus wrote of naming the island, “I named the first of these islands San Salvador, thus bestowing upon it the name of our holy Saviour under whose protection I made the discovery.” Columbus had achieved his inspired dream of sailing the Atlantic and the world was changed forever because one man refused to quit. Columbus wrote of his journey, “God gave me the faith, and afterwards the courage so that I was quite willing to undertake the journey.” Columbus achieved a grand victory because he had the courage to press forward when all others had lost faith.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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