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Chaplain’s Corner

Installment Number Two

Mariner’s Passage - The purpose of this column is to share my reflections on the life of we mariners and the Creator of the seas. (Proverbs Chpt. 23 verse 34) We mariners have opportunity to experience the Almighty up close and personal in ways that others cannot.

By George Shannon

Bolger, Microtrawler & Teal builder.


Prior to becoming an adult, trust to me meant that if I did things a certain way or as I was told, things would turn out ok. Or at least something good was going to happen. My parents gave me that first notion of trust by saying "if you chop those weeds in the backyard, you can go play with your friends". I chopped the weeds and trusted their word to me about what would come next. And sure enough it did happen just that way. As I grew older I found out that things get more complicated than that, people promise things they cannot deliver. The toughest of these lessons come when someone close to us that we love or depend on lets us down. We all have reason to distrust many folks. It was not until recently that I came across a Scripture passage "Better to take refuge in the Lord than to put one’s trust in mortals". (Ps 118:8). The question that immediately comes to mind is, "how far do I carry that"? When building my two boats I constantly trusted what experienced builders were telling me about how to construct or use a certain material and it was good. There were times when communication was not real good, but their hearts were in the right place. I remember when I was younger and people gave me advice, I would blame them if it didn’t work out. That only worked for a while until I got tired of being a victim. It came down to listening to advice and then deciding I would try it that way and take full personal responsibility for the results. Things went easier that way.

When I apply trust to the things of God, the rules definitely change. I prayed for my nephew to be healed of Leukemia and he died. I trusted God with my prayer and it didn’t work. (At least I didn’t see how). Later, my wife got cancer and lived. This time it worked. I was in the Navy on a recently modified submarine that no one in the crew had experience handling. During the sea trials off the coast of Oregon in a severe storm and high sea, we lost control of it and headed for the bottom at a severe angle (40 plus degrees). I thought it was all over, but eventually we brought it under control after passing through our test depth where it should have broken up. We all lived and my trust in God was renewed. I trusted Him with my life on that old thing and He came through. When my younger brother, nephew and brother-in-law came up missing on a fishing trip, the whole family trusted God would bring them back safe. All three drowned. Well, in each of these examples I assumed that trust meant, ask and it will be done according to my plan and wishes. My nephew dying led to some doubt about prayer and trusting God. Of course God was smiling on me when He didn’t take my wife and the submarine incident was just a clear answer to prayer. My brother, nephew and brother-in-law’s accident really messed up my notion of trusting God. Since that time I have come to realize that the Lord tells us in Scripture to pray constantly and cooperate with "His" way. Only God can see the big picture (Providence) and how it all fits and how and when it is all supposed to happen. I don’t know how often we change God’s mind about things, but I believe somehow there is an influence. As my faith grows and I pray and read Scripture consistently, I am more ready to accept whatever it is that God knows is best even if it hurts right now and maybe for a long time.

I remember another time in the Pacific on the way to China; we came into a hurricane and could not submerge because it would have been too dangerous. We had to ride it out. I was on watch on the bridge and saw green water 30 feet and higher breaking over us. The sheer power of the water slapped us around pretty good, but in this case it was more like a carnival ride and didn’t seem to have too much danger in it. It might have been because I was only 19 at the time and had experienced no real brain cell development yet. So, I didn’t see it as a serious trust issue.

Maybe we should get into the ride of life instead of worrying about so many things and trying to predict all the outcomes and where the turns and tips will take us. My goal is to trust in that Providence a little more each day.


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