Elephant Island, Antarctica


In January 1915, a British ship the Endurance was trapped and crushed in the ice off the coast of Antarctica. In the summer months, temperatures can get as high as 48 degrees, but in the winter which lasts about 6 months, beginning in February, it can plunge to 128 degrees below zero.

A group of about 30 explorers, led by Ernest Shackleton survived the shipwreck and managed to reach Elephant Island in three small lifeboats. It is called Elephant Island because it looks like an elephant lying down.

Trapped on this uninhabited Island, and far from the normal shipping lanes, Shackleford took off with five of his men on one of the smaller lifeboats to get help. The help could only come from another island called South Georgia, almost 800 miles away. It seemed impossible that they would survive, but there was not any hope for any of them if he didn’t try. Meanwhile, the men left behind struggled and wondered what would be their final fate as the temperatures dropped.  One month went by, then two, and three, but no help on the horizon. With their hopes fading at the end of the fourth month a boat appeared in the distance.  Sure enough, it was Shackleton who had made it to the South Georgia island and returned to rescue them.

There are sometimes difficult circumstances in this life that can challenge our hope to the nth degree as was the case with these men. Yet like each of them, we need to remain steady in our faith and prayers until God’s rescue ship arrives.  Meanwhile, we wait, do what we can to survive each day in our circumstance, and never give into despair.

Where are you in all of this? Are you sailing unhindered from one port to the next enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of your journey? Or are you at the  beginning of a trial where your ship is getting damaged and even shipwrecked. Maybe you’re in the middle of a crisis where you are freezing  and losing hope.  Or perhaps at the end of a trial when God’s rescue ship is on the horizon.

No matter where you are, know this about God, He is not Shackleford in this illustration. He commissions someone else to play this role to get a rescue ship to you. The Lord does this because He doesn’t want to leave your side for a moment until that rescue comes. He says this is what He will do many times throughout Scripture. So the next time you feel alone on your own Elephant island, and feel like yelling out in fear or frustration, “Where are you, Lord? Where are you!”  Remember He’s right next to you and not deaf.  He hasn’t moved an inch and hears every word you say.  But if it makes you feel better go ahead and yell, His ears can take it.

“The Lord said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

“…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Psalm 41:10

“Do not fear…when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you, for I am the Lord your God.” Isaiah 43:1-3

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:15, 17-19