We recently visited Fort Gaines, at Dauphin Island, Alabama. The scene of furious battles in the 19th century, the whole place today has an eerie feel to it, as the waves crash against the rocks, and crumbling brick buildings (actually the site is well-maintained) give way slowly to time.
Near the entrance is a recovered keel section of a ship, washed ashore by Hurricane Georges. The intriguing thing about the old wood and iron is that nothing else is known of its origin. At the bottom of a marker, we read: “The purpose of the Ship, its origin and the Fate of its Crew is unknown.”
That statement is true and false at the same time.
Certainly we have no way of knowing the answer to those questions, and we all love a good mystery. We can speculate that the crew met its fate some dark and stormy night, but we really don’t know.
I thought about that though, as we entered the fort itself.
Scripture tells us that God, our Creator, knows everything about everything. He knows us as individuals, and I think that is a great comfort, whether we die in our beds as old men and women, or whether we cling to a masthead as cold seawater lashes our faces.
Luke 12:7 says: “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
This is part of the Bible’s great practicality. It isn’t a dusty book meant for another time and people. It is meant for all of us, in all times and places and circumstances.
The crew of the unknown ship off Dauphin Island IS known, for the Bible tells us so.