The Lighthouse 

The trip from Japan across the Pacific had been done many times by the captain of the Korean owned freighter carrying a Panama flag.

This trip was special, because they were carrying the largest crane ever built and to be installed on the harbour at Oregon.

The crew was a mixed bunch French captain, German first officer, cooks from Holland; the rest were mixed Koreans, Philippines and Chinese

The trip was going to schedule and was over halfway to Oregon when the wind began to freshen and before long a gale warning was received it seemed to come up quickly in front of them and caused some delay in progress.

On the second night a hurricane warning was sent out across the airwaves and it was moving rapidly across the path of the freighter and there was no place to hide.

When it finally hit them the waves were mountainous and they were tossed around like a cork but the tragedy was to hit them several hours later in the early morning.

A creaking sound was heard, then followed shortly by an almighty bang, the ship rolled almost right over.

It was only in the first light of day that the damage was truly revealed, the hoist of the giant crane had moved and tottered over through the fore deck and smashed through the bow of the ship.

It was precariously balanced as it ploughed through the heavy rolling seas but the captain and crew were helpless to alter anything.

They fought to hang on over a three day period before they reached the shore of the U.S.A and the mouth of the river Columbia that leads to Portland harbour.

I had the privilege of being there and welcoming the crew. Most were in state of trauma and clung to me as they came ashore.

We took the men to a home and provided a meal and comfort for them and we could see they were terrified.

Several told me that they thought they would never see the light of day again or let alone dry land.

The captain actually flew back to France by air saying he would never sail again. Such was the experience he had been through.

It was much later when I had arrived back in England that I learned of the cause of the accident.

One of the major bolts that held the mast firm had not been bolted on properly, it had actually been cross-threaded and with the movement of the crane the lot sheered of like confetti.

Talking to the wireless operator over a meal the day they arrived in Portland he told me how he and others were watching for the lighthouse at Fort Stevens by Astoria.

They were peering through the gloom and rain longing to spot it, knowing they were only a short distance away from the harbour then.

This set me thinking as I looked at the drawn, ashen faces of these sailors, of he fact that in the middle of a massive storm when the disciples were terrified, they woke up Jesus and He stilled the storm.

He still does still the storms of life for people today, all we need to do is to seek Him and ask for His help.

Of course He does not do it just for our physical welfare only. He does it for us spiritually as well.

He longs to still the storm that sin arouses. Giant waves of depression and despondency roll over the toughest of people.

We look around and there is nobody there to help us, but a prayer to the Saviour can transform the scene very quickly, when sin is dealt with.

What a mighty Saviour He is, ever alert to hear and answer our prayer.