Prisoners of the Sea
The impressions made upon me by this book are still somewhat undefined. I think I really need more time to fully meditate on the characters and the lessons for me to learn.
I will start with the easy part. Mystery. Adventure. Suspense. It delivers all this, right to the final chapter. Woven through the story is God’s providence for those that trust in Him during hardships. In this book, it is Huguenot refugees driven from France after the Edict of Nantes was revoked and Protestantism is illegal. The examples set by these Christians, particularly Baillot, does have a great effect on all those around them.
First, there is Winters, a smart alecky sour mouthed sailor, sharp as a tack. He is one for common sense, and seemed to me to balance the almost naiveté of some of the Huguenots marooned on the island. I am not quite sure where the turning point for him was, but by the end, he is just as salty for God.
There is Goujet, cut throat pirate whose past God uses in almost an instant to reform this wretch’s life. He is constantly tempted to exert his harsh will, but his love and devotion to Baillot wins through. I found this devotion mysterious actually, and perhaps a bit unbelievable.
There are those, such as the slimy Jose de Miguel, the unnamed murderous convict on the island, and the pirate Lock, who all view the religious convictions of the Huguenots as weakness and do, in fact, exploit them. And this is where the questions begin for me. Would I act as these Christians acted? Would I chain a man when he only looks murderous? And when he does murder, would I let him live? Would I put to death those that deserve it, guilty of crimes too numerous to count, and knowing full well that they would seek to end my own? Would I take treasure, found on an island in a home with no owner in sight, or decline it as stealing and hold to honor?
This treasure part was particularly irksome to me. Clearly the chateau was deserted. Baillot’s lands and wealth had been confiscated by the government of France. Clearly he is the victim of injustice. He is now poor…but still refuses to take the gold and jewels, as he views it as stealing. That would be a difficult dilemma for me. If I found $10,000 somewhere, deserted, out in the desert, stuck in a hole…what would I do? Well, I would like to think I would do best thing, bring it to the authorities, or even, if no owner could be found, give it in its entirety to charity. And I would probably do that, but I know for certain, as I write this, the battle in my heart would be the same as Goujet’s.
In the end, through the struggle and hardship, God provides. The Huguenot’s characters remain firm and fixed, and that is really what matters in life. Are opportunities “missed” really missed if they draw our hearts from our convictions and our God?
On a personally note, this morning I saw a video about the division I work in, which includes probably >500 employees. It was published on our private internet and can be seen by all employees. A woman was chosen from our department, a person who I see as “favored.” It ignited jealousy and resentment in my heart. Thoughts like ‘why was she chosen and not me?’ and ‘she is so ambitious and cannot be trusted’ surge and pump through my mind. My heart is dull and aches. Hmm.
Thank you, Lord, for this book.