For almost 150 years Altacarry lighthouse on Rathlin Island has been a guiding beacon for shipping around the Northeast coast of Ireland.
It is built above the sea cave in which Robert the Bruce is said to have taken refuge from the English in 1306. It was here, the story goes, he watched a spider repeatedly trying to spin its web and failing before finally succeeding. Thus encouraged, he returned to win the Battle of Bannockburn and claim the throne of Scotland.
It’s not hard to get discouraged at times. Harsh experiences in life can threaten to overwhelm us, just like dark, stormy seas might engulf a vessel. Christians are not exempt from suffering in this life but look to our Saviour and Master to bring us safely through. This is expressed in a recent worship song by Rend Collective:
‘In my wrestling, in my doubt, in my failures You won’t walk out.
Your great love will lead me through.
You are the peace in my troubled sea.
My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse,
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You.
I will trust the promise, You will carry me safe to shore.’
Writing to often suffering believers in the first century, the Apostle Peter (himself a seafarer) encourages them to ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.’ He tells them to ‘stand firm’ in their resistance against evil, trusting that the Lord Himself will make them ‘strong, firm and steadfast’ in anticipation of heavenly glory. He says we do well to pay attention to the word of the Lord as recorded by the prophets in scripture, 'as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns...' (1 Peter 1 v 7-11 / 2 Peter 1 v 19)
Whatever ‘storms’ we may be facing just now, let us take fresh courage from Christ, shining through the darkness, guiding us home. As the old Boys’ Brigade hymn puts it:
‘Will your eyes behold through the morning light
The city of gold and the harbour bright?
Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore
When life’s storms are past for evermore?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!’
( For further info on Rathlin Island or Rend Collective click below.)