O God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small…

Finishing up Anniversary Week today with the #1 post from 2014! This poem shows up in my Google search stats every single day of the year along with the phrase, “If God has forgiven me why can’t I forgive myself?” You can read that post hereCelebrating Anniversary Week here on Hope in the Healing! Two years ago this week you invited me into your cyber lives and I have been forever blessed. I know this past year, especially the last six months, have not been my best but I appreciate that the blog has grown and you have shared and encouraged. I thank you. Yesterday I shared the number two post, you can read it here. I hope you enjoy. Blessings!
O God thy sea is so greatThis Old Breton prayer was inscribed on a block of wood on the desk of President John F. Kennedy. Admiral Hyman Rickover would give it to new submarine captains and also presented one to the President. Kennedy loved the quote and used it in his dedication of the East Coast Memorial to the Missing at Sea, May 23, 1963. He always kept in on his desk in the Oval Office and it is now in the JFK Presidential Museum and Library.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.
Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?
Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.
~Winfred Ernest Garrison

So much goodness in these words! What a Mighty God! I am frail, I am small, I am even weak. Sometimes LIFE overwhelms me and “unless thy love were mightier than the wrath of all the tempests that beset my path”, I could never make it through those storms.

I love the ending, “Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease, sweet silences abound, and all is peace.”

In the Old Testament there were Cities of Refuge. When the Promised Land was divided up among the twelve tribes of Israel, only one tribe did not receive land: the Levites. They were given the care and upkeep of the Tabernacle and to be the priests of the Lord.  Part of their inheritance consisted of 48 cities that were spread throughout the land and six of those were Cities of Refuge.

If someone committed a murder, for example, under the Mosaic Law, they were to be put to death. Exodus 21:14. But if it was an unintentional or accidental death, he could flee to a City of Refuge and be safe from his avenger until a trial was held to determine his guilt or innocence. As long as he stayed in the City of Refuge, no one could touch him. If he left the city for any reason, and there were people seeking his life, he was no longer under that protection.

Aren’t you thankful for a place of refuge in Jesus Christ! We can run to Him in our distress and be protected, even forgiven, from the accuser of the brethren, Satan himself. No matter what he wants to charge us with, Jesus has already paid the price and we can find comfort and safety in His everlasting arms.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” Psalms 46:1-3.

Yes, the sea of life is so big, sometimes scary and even overwhelming. But our God is so GREAT and able to carry us through anything if we take refuge in Him.

Rest in that hope today!



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9 thoughts on “O God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small…

  1. Bradly

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  2. DH_kim

    i saw this phrase in movie “13days.” for the first time, which was inscribed on wood block of JFK. and, that shook my heart so hugely. after came out of movie theater, i decided to change my major to literature. at that time, i had a dream to be a novelist give some inpressins to people like that phrase. but, it was not easy. everything, to be a novelist, good man, … my life itself. by chcance, i read your web page and i recall my dream i had left. such a great and beautiful poem. thank you very much.

  3. kentuckygal50

    Subscribing from the Amaze Me Monday Link-up. Many is the time I have needed, sought and found refuge in the Lord. What a wonderful thought to start the week. Thank you!

  4. Sylvia R

    Thank you much. I am in a very very small boat right now, and yes, His sea is *so* great… But so is His love and mercy, even greater. Just the reminder I need today. I want to keep this poem.

  5. Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer

    Love this! Made me reflect on the place of refuge. 🙂
    I’m going to put some of my poetry in my site. I’ve written over a hundred poems early in life. I think I’ll share. 🙂

  6. Pingback: #Fellowship Fridays 15 - Think Spring - Christian Mommy Blogger

  7. Lecretia Rhodus

    This was just what I needed to hear. Thankyou for allowing God to use you. I ❤️ You!!

  8. Sharon

    I loved this!! What a great poem, and the words were so very encouraging to me today. Yup, got a small boat (and it’s even leaky from time to time!). But, by keeping my eyes on Jesus, I know He will enable me to float and navigate and fly like the wind!


  9. Floyd

    That’s awesome! The world becomes easy to see the hand of God in when we find our humility first.

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