Jewish Journal


August 15, 2013

Family adrift in Pacific Ocean on mission to ‘see where God led us’


I've probably never been more stressed out then when I was entering my senior year of college. Two major moments were fast approaching: I was going to propose to my girlfriend and I was about to embark on a career in journalism (assuming someone would hire me and that was incredibly uncertain). The counsel I received from many friends was to pray about it. And I did.

But I've never been one to just ask God to tell me which direction I should head next. And that's what makes stories like this one so frustrating to read. Via NPR:

A leap of faith that sent an Arizona family bound for the South Pacific in a sailboat has returned them in an airplane after a harrowing ordeal at sea that saw them adrift and nearly out of food in one of the remotest stretches of ocean on the planet.

Hannah Gastonguay, 26, and her husband, Sean, 30, were fed up with abortion, homosexuality, taxes and the "state-controlled church" and so "decided to take a leap of faith and see where God led us," she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. With them were Sean's father and the couple's two daughters, one 3 years old and the other an infant.

A few weeks into their ultimately 91 days at sea, the Gastonguays encountered "squall after squall after squall" that damaged their boat. Originally on a heading for the archipelago nation of Kiribati near the international dateline, they changed course to the Marquesas Islands, but were unable to reach them either.

At which point the Gastonguays began drifting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Starving, they got a reprieve when a Canadian cargo ship spotted them and provided food. They later got a lift from a Venezuelan fishing boat.

The trouble I have with this story is not the way it's being reported. (Though I wonder what my GetReligion friends think.) It's with the wherever-God-takes-us attitude of the seafarers.

An analogy would be to the Gospel of wealth, which I've written critically about here and here. And just as giving money to God is not an investment plan -- no matter what some televangelist says -- forcing him to captain your ship is not a prudent move.

That is not a "leap of faith." It's stupidity.

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