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I confess. My knowledge of Sir Francis Drake was limited. Really limited.
And I’m still no expert on his life and times, though I certainly know far more about him than I did a few weeks ago.
I recently got my hands on a used copy of the audio theatre drama Under Drake’s Flag and, just as I expected, the story was incredibly good and the production quality was amazing. We’re huge fans of audio dramas like Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family Radio Theatre, and Lamplighter Theatre, so of course I was excited to hear another story created by some of the same talented people.
But knowing this was a G. A. Henty story stirred my interest as well, since I’ve heard and read so many things about the English writer whose novels are so popular among homeschoolers as “living” history books. It was my first introduction to his writing and I’m certainly intrigued.
But printed on the inside cover of the CD set I had purchased was a prayer, written by Sir Francis Drake himself in 1577, some 437 years ago, and its words spoke to my heart in the most amazing way.
Drake, like many of the great explorers and adventurers of the past, is mostly excoriated by modern historians as little more than a money-hungry pirate. But I tend to believe that he, like Christopher Columbus and so many of the others, was simply a man of his time. To try to pass judgement on him with very limited testimony as to his deeds and actions and based mostly on current cultural norms, I think, is both unreasonable and remarkably arrogant.
Honestly, Sir Francis Drake probably was not always the paragon of Christian virtue Henty portrays him to be. But he probably wasn’t the pilfering villain the modern historians paint him out to be either. It’s likely the truth falls somewhere in between and heaven will set all things right in time, without the aid of our conceited, though often ill-informed opinions.
Whatever the depth and maturity of Drake’s faith, there was faith there and I tend to believe he was blessed for his humble acknowledgment of God if for nothing else. His words here are beautiful.
–Sir Francis Drake, 1577
Are there any words used less in the prayers of the modern church world? We don’t want to be disturbed: we want to be comfortable. We want to be contented and complete and satisfied in all that life has to offer.
We want to be happy, not to learn through hardship. We want to be healed, not to draw nearer to God through sickness. We want to be blessed in this life, not to spend our days preparing for the next.
We want God to bless us. Fulfill us. Satisfy Us. Load us daily with benefits. Protect us from all pain and sorrow and suffering.
And then, God, having blessed us, do us a favor and leave us alone.
We would never say that, but it’s what we want. We want the fringe benefits of Christianity without the discomfort of following Christ.
But I’m praying, “Disturb me, Lord.” Disturb my stubborn tendencies and my preconceived notions. Disturb my contentment in temporal things and my longing for ease and comfort.
Disturb my satisfaction in self, my confidence in my own goodness and moral character, and stir in me a desire to be more like Christ in every thought and word and deed.
I need to be disturbed, and to push into the future with strength, courage, hope, and love, with Jesus as my Captain.