“Open my eyes [to spiritual truth] so that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18 AMP).

This is my prayer, no matter where I am.

And you know what? God answers! He shows us things—beautiful truths in the world that point us to His Word—if we only ask!

Recently, our family was blessed to take an Eastern Caribbean cruise, visiting Royal Caribbean’s private island Cocoa Cay, as well as St. Thomas and St. Maarten while cruising on Wonder of the Seas.

Although I love time off the boat, doing fun things like swimming with pigs (Oh yes we did!) and snorkeling, I also enjoy time on the ship.

And even more so when we’re at port. After all, it’s almost like having the entire ship to yourself.

Our adult sons and their significant others, as well as daughter Allie and our niece Emma enjoyed one week together, and it was nothing less than wonderful!

While away, I watched with wide-eyed wonder—waiting to see how God would show up in His creative ways. (Did I mention swimming with pigs? Don’t discount He has a sense of humor!)

The following is “Part 1” of  lessons I learned, having asked Him to teach me wonderful things—yes, spiritual truths—in the world and in His Word.

LESSON #1—Patience Perfected

Early on in the week, Bill and I watched a young man walking with a young woman. Even now, I’m not sure their relationship—whether brother and sister or boyfriend and girlfriend. But they looked to be at ease with one another as they walked ahead of us, enjoying the day.

Later that night, we were gathered in the main dining hall. Next to our table was another with a rather large party like our own. All were seated, dressed in their evening attire.

Not long after settling in, we noticed someone at the adjacent table making loud noises—groaning and grunting. Not wanting to be rude, we took subtle glances in their direction, trying to decipher what was going on.

It was then Bill and I recognized the same young couple from earlier in the day, sitting with other family members. The young man we’d seen walking with the young woman was rocking in his chair, headphones over his ears, an iPad in his hands.

Was he autistic? we wondered. Perhaps the stimulation in the large and crowded dining hall was overwhelming.

The rest of his party, however, seemed quite used to such a response, the young woman beside him just as calm as she’d appeared earlier. The young man was clearly agitated, and we found ourselves feeling anxious for him.

“Maybe the noise and all the people are too much,” I whispered to Bill.

Not long after, the young woman and man rose from the table and left, though the rest of their party remained.

The next day, we were to spend time in Cocoa Cay. A large sign greeted us as we docked–“PERFECT DAY” spelled out in large, yellow letters.

We soon learned why. The island’s motto?

Perfect day in Cocoa Cay.

As we sat in our cabana on the beach, Bill and I again saw the young couple from the day before. But unlike the previous evening, the pair was much like how we’d first witnessed them, strolling along, water lapping at their feet.

The young man was looking for shells, and the woman with him occasionally pointed. He’d stoop to take a closer look, run sand through his hands, then stand again and take a few more steps.

Both were the perfect picture of peace, enjoying the beauty of the day—the beach, the sun and surf. Gone were the groans, the grunting. The young man was calm in the serenity surrounding him.

And I thought of this passage–

“… count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4 NKJV).

I thought this passage was particularly poignant concerning the young woman who, no matter what, walked or sat calmly alongside the young man.

LESSON#2–Ferry (Aka ‘Father Time’)

There’s this phenomena on cruise ships, at least on the Royal Caribbean cruise line.

Each morning, upon entering the elevator, the day of the week is posted on the floor, just inside the sliding doors.

On Monday, travelers revel in the fact that there are nearly seven more days of vacation (given their 7-day trip began, for example, on a Sunday).

As the days go by, however, vacationers are reminded that time is passing, and all too quickly, I might add. Soon Monday’s become Friday, and the day to disembark is soon upon them.

Having cruised on numerous occasions in the past, Bill and I are familiar with this feeling–that elation-to-let down as reality sinks in.

So, on this trip, we decided to find out exactly how and when the “day” placard was changed–who did the dirty work, so to speak. (How dare they!)

Little did we know, it’s an actual thing, and apparently, others wondered too. Riding the elevator to the 2nd floor on night #2, we discovered lots of folks waiting also and for the same reason.

As our elevator doors opened, there he stood–a young Indonesian man named Ferry. He smiled, took an instrument from his pocket, then, just a minute past midnight, turned the placard. With a swipe of a cotton cloth, he polished the new “day” and the doors closed, quite literally, on Monday–opening for us on floor 14.

Tuesday had begun.

This started a trend, and Bill and I, along with Allie and Emma (and many others too) watched Ferry turn time –from Tuesday to Wednesday, Wednesday to Thursday, Thursday to Friday, and Friday to Saturday.

By Saturday’s stroke of midnight, we hadn’t the heart (nor the energy) to stay up late. Thus, Bill and I heard about it the next morning from our daughter and niece who endured to greet the new day before falling into bed for the last time upon Wonder of the Seas.

Sunday (and our departure) had come!

But learning this fun fact, not to mention meeting a nice fellow named Ferry–aka ‘Father Time’–made me think of this passage–

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1 NKJV).

Yes, a time to set sail and a time to return home. 

(To watch a video, though not Ferry and not our particular cruise ship, click HERE!)

Lesson #3–Discovering Ducks

Something else is apparently a “thing” on cruise ships, though I was unaware of it until this particular trip.

Seems people hide ducks for others to find. (There’s even a Facebook group for this!)

Tucked in foliage, nestled among hanging pieces of artwork, and placed strategically on ledges and in stairways, these rubber duckies create quite a stir.

Once we found out about it, we, too, were on the look out. Not only that, but we played a “Snag a Duck” claw game in the arcade so we could hide ducks as well.

In all, I discovered four ducks as I strolled about the ship. Needless to say, they’ve been added to our bath toy collection, and the grand-girls, Lila and Emory, are quite happy with the new rubber ducky additions.

It’s a small thing, I know, but searching and finding these hidden toys reminded me of this passage–

“If you seek [wisdom] as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:4, 5 NKJV).

These hidden treasures, simple though they may be, are a reminder to seek something much more valuable… wisdom from the Lord!

***(To Be Continued!)***

Oink! (I told you so!)