Who hasn’t heard the worn-out phrase, “When life gives you lemons, made lemonade”? The thought seems to have run its course in our day. However, it wasn’t always so.
Especially in a young man with crushed dreams.
Matthew visualized becoming captain of a sailing ship. He entered the navy at age nineteen, trained and prepared for the day he would be called Captain.
Then it happened. The accident. A stagecoach mishap left him permanently lame. No more captaining his own ship.
The disabled young man could have succumbed to despair and depression. Who wouldn’t have excused just a little self-pity in the mix?
Enter God’s alternate plan. Or maybe it was God’s original plan.
The postmaster general of the new colonies had a problem. Mail ships weren’t getting through fast enough to satisfy the colonists who had relatives back in England.
Ben Franklin tried to do something about it. As postmaster general of the colonies, Franklin’s duty was to find why New England whaling ships crossed the Atlantic faster than British mail ships which had been designed for speed.
Franklin quizzed the captain of a whaling vessel about it.
“We know the Gulf Stream well,” said the captain. “We told them they were fighting the current. When the winds are good, they lose 70 miles a day.”
Current? Gulf Stream? No one had officially located ocean currents yet, though God had dropped the hint in the Bible for anyone interested.
It seems the British sea captains were too proud to learn from simple colonial fishermen.
However, the idea caught the attention of Matthew Maury, a disabled man with a curious mind and faith in the God of creation.
Maury noticed the phrase “paths of the sea” while reading Psalm 8:8 (written over 2,800 years ago). He said, “If God says there are paths in the sea, I am going to find them.”
He met with sailors from around the world in Brussels, Belgium during the year 1853.
“There is a river in the sea,” said Maury, after learning of the Gulf Stream. “Its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while its current is of warm. The Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic seas. Its current is more rapid than the Mississippi or Amazon, and its volume more than a thousand times greater.”
Maury discovered the waters of the Gulf Stream were indigo blue, while regular ocean water was green. And there was a distinct line between the waters of the Gulf Stream and waters of the ocean. He found God had created this underground path in the sea at least 50 miles wide at the start and almost half a mile deep.
This determined man mapped those paths in the sea.
In 1855 Maury published a book which remains in print today and is used in universities. In his Physical Geography of the Sea, Maury clearly stated he accepted the words of the Bible in guiding his study of the ocean.
This lame man who was forced to give up his dreams, received numerous honors. In the 1850s he aided in laying a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean. Later in life he became professor of meteorology at the Virginia Military Institute. He also became a geologist and an astronomer.
Trite as it sounds, Matthew Maury did “make lemons out of lemonade.” It all began when he stopped looking at frustrating circumstances and looked, instead, to the Source of all knowledge. God, the creator of our fascinating universe, hid more undiscovered scientific facts in the pages of His Word than man can count.
What about you? Any thoughts on triumph despite disabilities? Don't forget to comment below.