Have you ever hidden so well during a game of hide and seek that no one could find you? Was it a little scary? Can icebergs play hide and seek? In 1999 an iceberg the size of Rhode Island broke away from Antarctica and went missing! That’s right, but let’s back up a little.
In the Northern Hemisphere, from February to July, chunks of ice break off or calve from Greenland’s glaciers. Some also calve from glaciers in Alaska. Chunks may be small or as large as the ones shown in Church’s painting. Most of an iceberg is out of sight below the water, and it’s this part that’s so dangerous to ships.
In the North Atlantic, ocean currents often carry icebergs from Greenland to an area off Newfoundland called Iceberg Alley. This was where Church went to study and sketch icebergs for his painting. So many icebergs in this area important for fishing and shipping, have caused the loss of many ships and lives over the years. Ship crews had to be constantly on the alert for this threat.
But everything changed on the clear and calm night of April 15, 1912 when the Titanic hit an iceberg on her maiden voyage from England to New York. Titanic sank within 2 ½ hours, and over 1,500 passengers and crew drowned.
The disaster prompted several countries to meet and establish an International Ice Patrol to keep track of icebergs in the North Atlantic and warn ships of their locations.
This patrol, part of the United States Coast Guard, still operates. At first Coast Guard ships patrolled Iceberg Alley from February to July. Since WWII they use airplanes to spot and keep track of icebergs.
Today the International Ice Center also uses satellites. In 1999 that dangerously large iceberg calved from Antarctica, went missing. SeaWinds, a special radar to help improve weather prediction, had recently been launched aboard a NASA satellite, and it located the iceberg drifting off the coast of Argentina. Since then, satellites also help track icebergs.
God doesn’t need ships or planes or satellites to keep track of icebergs.
Chapter 38 of Job tells us God has created and continues to care for every big and small part of His creation. He has “walked in the recesses of the deep,” (verse16); has “entered the storehouses of the snow and seen the storehouses of the hail,” (verse 22). God knows “from whose womb comes the ice and who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen, (verses 29-30).
God created icebergs. They can’t go missing from Him.
Has there ever been a time when you felt lost? Maybe you had an argument with a friend. You got in trouble at school. Or a pet has died. Did you feel confused or scared, or all alone?
We know from the psalms that King David sometimes felt lost and afraid. But in Psalm 139, he writes that God knows “when I sit and when I rise; (verse 2). And “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (versus 8-10).
David knew God would never let him go missing.
Next time you feel lost and alone, remember that no chunk of ice, no matter how big or small ever goes missing from God. They’re always on God’s radar and so are you. He’ll never let you go missing.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for always being with us. No matter where we are you will be there to comfort and guide us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Before You Go
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Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on The Icebergs by Frederick Edwin Church. Come on back next week for an art activity based on the painting.