A few weeks ago numerous news agencies reported on the collision of two Carnival Cruise ships, Carnival Legend and Carnival Glory. The collision took place in the harbor at Cozumel, Mexico, while the ships were trying to dock.
Not in Control
The pilot of Carnival Legend was stationary, waiting for Carnival Glory to dock. But as Carnival Glory reversed engines to approach the dock at a better angle, she backed right into the bow of the ship behind her. The entire event was recorded by the many passengers of a third cruise ship waiting to dock. The accident sheared off a portion of Glory’s aft deck, but left both ships seaworthy.
Carnival Cruise ships represent the epitome of luxury and self-indulgence. They’re expensive, of course. But passengers figure they’re purchasing a flawless week of unblemished entertainment. But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Add three cruise ships together and you get a whirlwind of fun, right? Wrong. You get a collision – and a stern reminder that even on a luxury sea cruise – where we believe nothing could possibly go wrong, disaster accompanies us and must be warded off by prayer for the safety of everyone on the vessel. Carnival Glory was a little less glorious after this collision. The collision tore away the thin veneer of splendor at its aft. Thankfully, however, no one was seriously injured.
No one is ever out of the danger zone. Money can’t buy us out of it. Vacations don’t guarantee immunity from it. No matter how favorable our circumstances might seem we are always, 100% dependent upon God. Whether we’re stuck in a firefight in Afghanistan or we’re tanning ourselves in the sun on the deck of Carnival Glory, God is the one who sustains our lives.
The positive side of this is that even when our circumstances look their bleakest, we are still at the mercy of God’s great loving-kindness. Threatening clouds may turn the sky to midnight. But the Sun of Righteousness shines as bright as ever. And nothing can keep His rays of love from reaching us.
Yes, it’s true that God may use threatening circumstances (e.g. terminal illness, imminent danger) to help us prepare to meet God. But He may also deliver us from such danger again and again – as Zarephath’s widow whose bowl of meal never ran out and whose jar of oil never seemed to go empty through the long and deadly famine (1 Kings 17:8-16).
You may have read about Brother Andrew, “God’s Smuggler.” His real name was Andrew van der Bijl. He was a Christian missionary from the Netherlands who smuggled tens of thousands of Bibles behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Bibles were among the most prohibited contraband in the Soviet Union. Yet, despite the danger of being arrested and imprisoned, Brother Andrew obeyed the Lord. He stuffed the inside of his Volkswagen Bug with Bibles and successfully passed through border gates to deliver them.
On one occasion, the border guards were pulling out the seats, floor mats, and spare tires of all the cars in front of him, searching for contraband. So Brother Andrew prayed, “Please, dear God, blind these guards to the Bibles in my car so I can bring them to Your children!” And when he drove his vehicle up to the gate to be inspected, the guards waved him through without noticing a single Bible.
In all his years of smuggling, of facing certain imprisonment and possible death, Brother Andrew was never arrested. However, after returning to the safety of his homeland, Andrew did suffer serious injuries from an auto accident. Yes, we are never out of the danger zone and should be seeking God at all times. Yet, when we trust in God, though the earth should crumble, we need never fear.
Dear Father in heaven, no matter what my circumstances may be, whether sunshine or storm, I acknowledge You as my Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. If You lead me beside the quiet waters or through valley of death, I will fear no evil. For, because You are my Shepherd, only goodness and mercy will pursue me, and I will dwell in Your house forever. Amen.
–https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/7789860426/ (By The Official U.S. Navy Page, Licensed under US Govt Work)
–https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/48079909151/ (By The Official U.S. Navy Page, Licensed under CC by 2.0)
–https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/3120568548/ (By U.S. Army, Licensed under CC by 2.0)