Endurance, Stuck in the Ice
I believe that if we wait patiently upon the Father that we can expect Him to speak to us and make things clear. This has certainly been one of the lessons the Spirit of Christ is teaching at this time. When we act hastily we often fail to discern the mind of the Father. He would have us to slow down, to wait upon Him, and to have an expectation as we do so that He will truly speak to us. The Father has been faithful to guide and direct me as I have waited upon Him during this season on Jekyll Island (13 years ago).
I want to share with you a very profound witness I have received from the Spirit in the past several days. A couple days ago I set out to ride my bicycle around the island, and I really felt a need for the Father to put all things in context that I might know what He is seeking to communicate to me. Sometimes we need a reference point, or a certain framework to understand the events we are experiencing. As I began my ride I confessed to the Lord that I knew He was quite able to speak to me, and I truly wanted to hear His voice. I told Him that as I rode around the island that I was listening, and I invited Him to speak. Before I asked, He had already sent the answer.
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
The previous night the Lord spoke to me clearly and told me to read again the book Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. I had noted a few things in the book that I had not seen before, but I had not yet discerned why the Father directed me to read this again. Upon finishing my bike ride I received an e-mail, and while answering a sister’s question the Father brought understanding. The Father showed me that this book provides the framework needed to know what He is speaking in this season.
For those of you unfamiliar with this book, I will provide a little background. Just before I left the employment of the Rescue Mission last February I was putting some donated books on the shelf at the Mission’s thrift store when this book caught my eye. The Spirit spoke to me and indicated I was to purchase this book and read it.
I found the book profoundly moving as it chronicles the expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton to cross the South Polar Continent in 1914. A group of 28 men set sail from South Georgia Island to begin their trek. Their ship, Endurance, never made it to the continent. It became locked in ice in the Weddell Sea, one of the most forbidding places on earth. Before long the mission changed to one of survival, and all plans to cross the continent, or even reach it, were abandoned.
Shackleton’s Ship, Endurance, Stuck in the Ice
Shackleton’s goal became that of getting his men back home alive, and the storms and severe cold and desperate conditions they endured are simply incredible to read about. For nearly two years these men survived in this frozen wasteland, and when all was said and done, Shackleton got all of the men back to safety without the loss of a single life. That the men were transformed by the experience was quite evident.
When I read this book about 9 months ago the Father was indicating that He was calling me out from the Mission to begin preparation for the ministry that lay ahead. This would be a ministry to the church in the wilderness. It would be a call to shepherd the people of God through very difficult days, and the Spirit indicated that endurance would be needed to make it through. This was the main lesson I derived from the book at that time.
As I have re-read the book the Spirit has been revealing some much more specific things. We are on the verge of great judgment falling upon the nations. A time of calamity is at hand. People’s lives are about to become very difficult, and it will require much fortitude, courage, faith and endurance to get through these days. Yet the Father does have a provision for His people, and though they will be tried, those who trust in Him will not suffer any real harm. All who pass through this trial will be transformed in profound ways.
The Spirit spoke to me as I read the book, and a particular detail leapt out at me. The arduous trek of these men both began and ended on South Georgia Island.
The Lord then asked me to consider where it was that He had brought me to at this season. I am on a South Georgia Island. Jekyll Island is located on the southern coast of the state of Georgia. The Spirit spoke to me and said, “This book provides the framework for you to understand the things you are experiencing. What happened the next day confirmed this very clearly.
It began to rain that night and the rain continued for 36 hours. I had set-up a new tent to sleep in, and before I left Fort Wayne I had bought several cans of water repellant to spray on the tent. From previous camping experience I knew this would help out considerably. Before the rain began I sprayed down the tent with water repellent, and I took all normal precautions to keep the water out, closing all the windows on the tent.
The following day the rain continued, and it was heavy at times. In the afternoon I thought to look inside the tent to see how it was holding up. I had been sleeping in it, since it is much more roomy than my van, and quite comfortable. I considered that I had taken what normal precautions I could, so I did not look inside the tent. At bedtime I went to get in the tent and I found that the rain fly had sagged slightly in the center and was making contact with the tent fabric. Where they touched water was seeping through and it was dripping directly onto the bed, wetting the sleeping bag, and my pillows. Since they were soaked, I decided to sleep in the van, which has a bed in the back.
I had also taken normal precautions in the van. I closed the windows on either side of the bed, and where there was a water leak from the roof AC unit I kept a bucket underneath it and emptied it periodically throughout the day. When I went to get in the bed in the rear of the van I saw that it too was soaked. Water had built up in the window track and had run down the wall where the thick comforter I used had wicked up the moisture. The comforter and the foam mattress below it were both wet, as was my pillow.
I began to get frustrated and was about to complain to the Lord when He stopped me. I understood that He had caused this to happen for a reason, and He wanted me to see something in it. I resigned myself to sleeping in the captain’s chair at the front of the van, which was really not too bad, and the next day I dried everything out as the rain had stopped.
The next night I was back in the tent and I was reading further in the book Endurance when I came across a section that described the conditions the men met with on a daily basis. The ship was lost after having been crushed in the ice, so they set up camp on an ice floe.
Shackleton and His Men On An Ice Flow
Storms would blow through regularly, pushing snow inside the tents, and the ground inside the tents would warm up causing the ice to melt, soaking their sleeping bags. For most of the time the men were stranded in this region they slept in damp, or even wet, sleeping bags. Yet the men adjusted to every new discomfort, and were remarkably optimistic about their experiences.
One thing that is noted throughout the recounting of this epic adventure, is how truly adaptable man is to difficult circumstances, and how great a role attitude plays in survival. Shackleton is hailed as an extraordinary leader of men, and perhaps the greatest thing he did was to foster a positive outlook among his men.
When the Lord led me back here to this South Georgia Island less than a week ago, one thing I noticed was that the state had erected a new road sign on the causeway leading to the island. The road had always been referred to as “The Jekyll Island Causeway.” This was all I had known it by from as far back as 1977 when I first lived on the island. The new sign identified the road as Georgia 520.
When I saw the sign I immediately noted it, and wondered what the Father might be speaking through it. I had called and made reservations at the campground, telling them I anticipated being there for a month. The monthly rate during the off-season is much lower than paying daily, or weekly. I was told by the manager of the campground that he could give me a much better campsite if I was willing to move partway through my stay. I told him that was quite alright with me.
When I arrived they put me in a very spacious site at the back of the campground. It really is a very nice spot. They told me it was available for 20 days, and they would only charge me for the time I was in that site, and when I moved they would charge me again for any remaining time I stayed with them. This allowed me to get the monthly rate while paying for only 20 days. The person doing the registration told me the rate would come out to $15 a day, where as it is $25 per day when paid daily. 15 is 5+5+5, signifying a fulness of grace.
When I heard that the site would be available for 20 days, the Spirit reminded me of the road sign. He said that God was allowing me 20 days of grace on this South Georgia Island before I must leave and begin this ministry which would require much endurance.
I do not believe these things will occur until sometime after I leave Jekyll Island, for the difficulties Shackleton and his men encountered came after they departed South Georgia Island. These things are coming quickly, however.
The Spirit has comforted me with the thought that He has been preparing vessels for the day which is at hand, and they will stand in the time of trouble for He has not been stinting in qualifying them for the days ahead. He has reminded me of all of the trials He has brought me through, and though I have been brought to the breaking point, and considered giving up on occasions, He has held me to the course and not allowed me to shrink back.
Back in the 1990s, when the Lord brought me to encounter the very first prophetic word I had ever received, He spoke the following, “I have put steel in your backbone.” He has brought this back to mind of late, and it has led me to confess that truly the only reason I have stayed the course thus far is that God has held me to it. Like Joseph of old I confessed, “It is not in me.” God alone is able to make us to stand, but He has promised to do just that.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
It is a time to place all confidence in our God, and none in the flesh. The arm of man will not save or deliver the people of God in days ahead. But those who manifest faith in God will do exploits.
Wednesday, Lord willing, I will post a further writing to share some of the insights the Father has been bringing forth at this season.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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