Traveling across the sea to foreign ports in search of fabrics, teas, shoes, and the fine wines of France, must have seemed a romantic venture to the young mariner in 19th century America! But for the wife of a seaman, the romance of a sea life was as far away from reality as the ports across a dark ocean.
Many nineteenth century coastal homes belonging to ship captains and sea merchants included a widow’s walk, a small, enclosed cupola atop the second floor, where wives would spend hours quietly looking out over the vast waters, hoping to see a ship, their husband’s ship, returning safely to port. Sadly, many a longing wife waited in vain to glimpse that return from beyond, as the seas were harsh, unforgiving, and filled with many perils. Would she be another widow, left to care for her children and support them alone? Our eastern shoreline is still dotted with stately homes from yesteryear, many with empty widow’s walks that whisper of hope, longing, and heartache.
Looking off into the distance in hopes of seeing someone who may never return would be an anxious, lonely way to spend time. But for the Christian, we wait for One Who will appear when the time is fulfilled—that is His promise:
In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8
Picture a lonely young bride, perched on a widow’s walk high on her coastal home, waiting, looking, hoping for her seafaring husband to return. She has no guarantee that she will ever see his ship coming toward home port again. But the believer can rejoice, for we have read the end of the Book, and our Bridegroom, Christ, will return for us. Rejoice in this truth, and wait in hope!