Summary: How do we connect the Sargasso Sea to our lives as Christians? Let’s consider some ways it might.
ADRIFT IN LIFE’S SARGASSO SEA
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1 NIV
The Sargasso Sea is the only sea in the world that has no coastline. It is located in the north Atlantic 20 o N to 35 o N and 30 o W to 70 o W, and covers approximately 2,000,000 square miles with depths ranging from 5000 to 23,000 feet. It derives its name from the free-floating seaweed (sargassum) strewn over its vast surface. Winds are normally extremely calm and move in a clockwise manner caused by a confluence of the Gulf Stream on its west, by the Canary Current on its east, by the North Atlantic Current on its north and by the N Atlantic Equatorial Current on its south.
The Sargasso Sea slightly changes position as its surrounding currents change with weather and temperature patterns during different seasons. These different currents interface to separate the Sargasso Sea from the rest of the Atlantic, thus creating the calm conditions and slow-moving circulatory winds. The legendary “Bermuda Triangle” is located in its NW quadrant.
Stories of “a sea of lost ships” predates the journalism surrounding the “Bermuda Triangle” by centuries and were, in many ways, strikingly similar to recent “Bermuda Triangle” horror accounts. Laying aside all the obvious myths and folklore surrounding the Sargasso, we will find it profitable to carefully look at the facts surrounding this, the most mysterious of seas, for in many ways it suggests some pitfalls Christians may encounter in their spiritual life.
As long as the sailing ships of a previous time did not journey too far into the central area of the Sargasso they were able to correct their course and continue on to their destination. It was when the ship’s captain, unaware of the danger that existed, slowly sailed toward the Sea’s center, in the direction of no return. This is typical of sin’s allure. Many believe they can “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” and walk away from it whenever they desire only to discover that the enslaving power of a life of carnality is much stronger than they had imagined. The more involved a person becomes in the ways of the world the greater the likelihood of their being unable to “come out from among them, and be separate.” The only certain answer to their plight is turning to Jesus for deliverance.
With the advent of powered vessels came the opportunity to explore the Sargasso’s secrets. Derelict vessels were found there more often, shipshape but deserted. On one occasion a ship carrying human cargo was sighted with nothing but skeletons aboard. What lies at the bottom of this sea has quickened the imagination of many. In today’s world, the Sargasso poses no barrier for the steam and nuclear powered ships that plow through it regularly.
Power-driven ships are relatively new in nautical history but for centuries wind-driven ships were the only means of marine transportation. It is these frail vessels that aptly typify our spiritual sojourn in our “earthly tents”. Paul uses this description in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4. “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.” (NASB)
How do we connect the Sargasso Sea to our lives as Christians? Let’s consider some ways it might.
I. THE PERIL OF AIMLESS DRIFTING
There was nothing in the Sargasso Sea to which stranded ships could anchor. Columbus, who discovered it, was deceived into believing that he was near land because of the abundance of sargassum that could be seen in the area. He tried to fathom the depth but found no bottom. In fact, some three miles below him lay the Nares Abyssal Plain of the great sea.
The spiritual application is obvious. Drifting, whether physical or spiritual, denotes no goal, objective or progress. No progress can occur when all movement is only random drifting. The writer of Hebrews cautions us to pay careful attention to the truths we have been taught and not stray from them. Keeping our spiritual eyes focused on Jesus will assure us of not drifting.
If we anchor our life in the Lord Jesus we can rest assured that our anchor will hold regardless of the severity of the storm. Ruth Caye Jones captured this truth when she wrote “In Times Like These”. The first and third stanzas fittingly apply in today’s world.