The Unseen Hand of God

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

Oftentimes in life, things happen that seem out of our control or inexplicable due to our limited angle of vision. When we have faith in God, we come to understand and accept that everything that happens in life is according to God’s will.

The message of Ernest Shackleton’s journey

In the early 1900s, Ernest Shackleton dreamed of crossing Antarctica by dogsled, a 2,100-mile journey. Shackleton and his twenty-eight-member crew set off on their expedition. Unfortunately, three days after setting sail, the ship taking them to Antarctica became frozen in an ice pack.

Trapped, the men had to wait ten months for spring to melt the ice and free the ship. When spring came, the ice melted, but disaster struck when the ship was crushed by the ice. They could not make it on foot across the ice to the open sea, so they camped for five months on an ice floe, eating rationed food.

When they felt the ice floe break up, they knew they could travel by water moving from one ice floe to another. Shackleton led the men with their three life boats and provisions to sail through and across ice floes 180 miles to Elephant Island.
They braved snow, hail, sleet, and rain as they huddled their soaked bodies together in the boats to stay warm.

On the deserted Elephant Island, Shackleton realized they would die unless he went for help. He left most of his crew there with provisions, knowing he had to reach the whaling station on Georgia Island. He and five others took the largest lifeboat, twenty-two feet long, and crossed the most treacherous sea of Antarctica to reach the closest, inhabited station.

Seventeen days later, they reached Georgia Island. Their lifeboat was too damaged to go further, and they were on the wrong side of the island. To reach the station, they had to cross an icy mountain range. Shackleton took two of the men with him. They used nails from the lifeboat on the bottom of their thinning boot soles for traction, brought two compasses, some ropes, and provisions and set out on the 30-mile journey across icy mountains and glaciers.

Thirty-six hours later, scrawny and hardened by their ordeal, Shackleton and his two crew members reached the whaling station, their first contact with civilization in seventeen months.

Shackleton returned in a rescue boat for the rest of his crew, and when he got back to Elephant Island found that not a single man had perished. When Shackleton was asked how they made it through such difficulties, he told his friends that he felt the presence of an unseen Power guiding them on this journey.

Sometimes, we actively pray for help and receive it, but there are many times when we do not even ask for help, and help comes anyway. These are reminders to us that we are never alone. Unbeknownst to us, the unseen Hand of God is always with us, guiding us through the rough waters of life.

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