We had heard of the Jimmy Newell Harbour, and once we had entered the Torndirrup National Park near the town of Albany, Western Australia, we set out to look for it. From the name alone, I was anticipating at the least a dock and some boats, and maybe even a little fishing town. You can imagine my surprise when our route took us to a nearby lookout from where we could see a little ocean inlet 95 metres below. The view was impressive, for the seas had dug out a gap that was some 120 metres deep, 400 metres long and 150 metres wide; but was this the Jimmy Newell Harbour? How could they call it a harbour at all? And why the strange name?
Further research revealed that there had
historically been two Jimmy Newells in the area. Both were convicts,
some of the many thousands that were taken to Australia to serve their
time, and we do not know which of the Jimmy Newells received the honour
of having an ocean inlet named after him. What was considered to be the
more likely story, however, was showcased by a nearby information
This Jimmy Newell had been brought to the prison near
Albany in 1826, where he had apparently served his time and was then
released. As many of the ex-convicts did, he stayed in Australia, and
his wife and most of his children joined him around 1832. He then
remained in the area, burning lime and augmenting his meager income by
hunting mutton-birds and seals.
As the story goes, Jimmy was out
in his fishing boat one day when he was caught up in an unexpected
storm. Fortunately for him, he was driven into the ocean inlet that now
bears his name, and in the shelter of this natural haven, his life was
Does this story sound familiar to anyone? Just like
Jimmy, the storms of life also take us unawares. Sometimes these storms
are so violent that we wonder if we will survive the onslaughts of
cancer or other life-taking illnesses; we fear that we might not make it
through the job loss without having to give up our homes, our cars, our
dreams; we worry that we will not be able to endure that breakup of our
The good news is that just as Jimmy was driven into a
safe haven to wait out the foaming waters and roaring waves, we also
have a safe haven, Jesus Christ.
Consider the following texts:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me
rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams." (Ps.
"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to
help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and
the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let
the mountains tremble as the waters surge!" (Ps. 46:1-3 NLT)
I could list many more, for the Bible is full of such promises; but
wait. Why should so much fuss be made over--an ex-convict? Shouldn't he
have merited the stormy sea?
I hear this question often as well
from the mouths of those who are going through serious trials: Why would
God care about me? I've done so much wrong! We are, after all, all
Rom. 3:23), we all warrant
death. Why would we merit the refuge God provides us?
The answer is that we don't merit it, for we truly aren't
good enough of our own; nonetheless, God reaches out to give
shelter us shelter anyway. That's how much He loves us! Didn't He prove
His love for us at the cross of Jesus Christ? Doesn't the fact that
Jesus was willing to suffer and die a cruel death prove beyond a doubt
that God loves us eternally, perfectly and without hesitation?
human standards, Jimmy may not have merited being saved from that storm;
and neither do we merit the shelter God provides for us during the
storms of our lives. Nonetheless, just as the Jimmy Newell Harbour
proved to be the salvation of that ex-convict, the love and grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ is not only the salvation of mankind, but also the
door to Him being our shelter amidst the storms of life:
"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the
shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my
refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will
rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will
cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His
faithful promises are your armor and protection." (Ps. 91:1-4 NLT).
Our worthiness is not important, for God offers to be our
shelter in the trying times, no matter what. That's how much He loves
us! Our job is simply to accept Jesus' Salvation, and then to
accept the shelter God provides so freely to those who believe
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.