What do you see when you look at the world—where we are, where all this is headed, what your role is in it? Do you have an integrated picture in your head that puts it all together for you?
In the Kingdom of Ice is a gripping account of the 1879 US Arctic Expedition—an attempt by the US Navy to find a trade route that ran north from California, past Alaska, up over the North Pole, and on to Europe. The entire expedition rested on a theory of the North Pole that assumed it was surrounded by an ice-free ocean called the Open Polar Sea. Unfortunately, after less than 2 months at sea, their ship was hopelessly frozen in ice where it remained for the next 21 months. Finally in the summer of 1881, the moving ice crushed the hull, the ship sank, and the crew set out across the ice. Ultimately, only 13 of the of the original 33 survived.
Why did they fail so spectacularly? A bad map. They made their plans based on maps created by people who had never been to the North Pole. In fact, no one had. All they had was speculation about what was up there, dooming the entire expedition from the start.
I wonder how accurate your map is—the picture in your head that tells you where you are, what your destination is, and how to get there. I’m talking about the big philosophical questions: What is the purpose of history? Where is all this going? What is my role in it, the purpose of my life?
Our culture gives us maps that pretend to answer these questions and draw us in. All too often we stake the expedition of our lives on them, hoist sail, and head out, doomed from the start because we’re following maps made by people who’ve never been there.
Who better to furnish us with a map to these answers than the God who made the world, gave us life, and orders history?
By Josh Waltz, Chaplain, Parker Police Department