Notes from a Sunken Ship

By |2016-10-25T12:51:16+00:00October 25th, 2016|Reminders|

I’d always wanted to scuba dive through a sunken ship and, several years ago, it happened.

Derek and I rolled backwards off the side of a small boat into the salty Caribbean. We adjusted our gear, gave each other the ready signal, and descended beneath the untamed waves. After hitting sand only 70 feet down, we regulated buoyancy compensators, double-checked air supply, and began trailing the dive master toward the deep unknown.

Exploring the sea via wetsuit and oxygen tank is something of an out-of-body experience—both foreign and thrilling. The world is muffled, but senses are heightened. Other than sporadic sea life, dancing bubbles, and your own body gliding weightlessly through the water, everything feels like slow motion.

Visibility was pristine—probably 100 feet—as we hovered over coral reefs filled with colorful sponges and fish. Suddenly, as though we were fading out of a thick fog or heavy snow, the barnacle-covered stern of a tilted five-decker ship appeared with its gigantic brass propeller stuck in the powdery sand.

After investigating this massive chunk of metal from the outside, we moved indoors—floating through windows, former living quarters, cargo and engine rooms. We navigated around rusty ladders and towering smokestacks and water canons, while curious parrotfish and arrow crabs spectated our little expedition.

It’s an eerie feeling, really, to steer yourself through the underwater shadows and silhouettes of an old wheel house—vizualizing who once stood at its helm while powering through the surf above. Or imagining the men who ate dinner in the mess hall. What did they wear? What made them laugh? Did they have family back home?

What I didn’t expect, while maneuvering through the old bathroom, was to stumble across a cracked and tarnished—but still partially visible—mirror, reflecting an all too familiar face. I stopped quickly and completely, peering through the tempered glass of my goggles at my own sopping reflection. It was my nose, my lips, my sandy-blonde hair, my blue-gray eyes—in a sunken ship on the ocean floor.

Almost immediately these verses flashed across my mind…

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

When we’re flying above the clouds. When we’re diving beneath the sea. When we’re lost in a crowded room. When we’re found alone in a wilderness. When our fears take over. When our wildest dreams come true. When we’re scrubbing dishes at the kitchen sink. When we’re dressed up for a special event.

When you’re standing at your own bathroom counter, staring at your face in the mirror…

Do you realize He’s with you, even there? Even today? Even when you don’t feel Him. Even when you think you have it all figured out. Even when you’re confused.

You cannot out-hide his presence.

Now, the Bible also tells us that sin severs our relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2), simply because our ugliness doesn’t mesh with His holiness. Which is exactly why we need a Savior—a Redeemer—to intercede for us, pay our impossible debt, and be the bridge that reconnects and restores us to our Heavenly Father.

We can’t fix this problem on our own.

Our culture is obsessed with self-help, self-betterment, self-awareness, self-sustainability. But we cannot fully know ourselves unless we’re fully known in Christ. It starts there and ends never. And if/when we grant Him access—even a shaky, half-terrified nod—nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that’s in Jesus Christ our Lord.

That, my friends, is the very best news.

“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” (Psalms 139:7-12)

 

Prayer: God, thank you for seeing us and knowing us and pursuing us—even in unlikely places. Help us to turn to you and live this life walking confidently in your love. 

 

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