Episcopal Bishop, Daniel Corrigan was a young submariner in WWI. He often told of an amazing experience while on one of the United States’ earliest submarines. Near the Straits of Gibraltar his commander ordered an emergency dive when the submarine became surrounded by German destroyers.
Unfortunately, the vessel dove so quickly that the bow of the submarine hit and became stuck in the muddy bottom. Now the ship’s crew had a bigger problem than the German destroyers. Neither their oxygen nor their battery power would last much longer and their submarine was trapped at the bottom of the sea.
They reversed engines. They tried to rock the submarine loose by rushing to one side of the vessel to the other. But nothing worked.
Finally, the youngest member of the crew, Daniel Corrigan, asked if the crew would be willing to pray the Lord’s Prayer. They readily agreed, having exhausted their brains and bodies on every other solution. The commander bowed his head and led the crew in prayer. But while they were still praying, an idea simultaneously popped into the heads of several of the crew. “Use the torpedo tubes for propulsion!”
Sensing that God had spoken to them, they prayed an additional prayer for success. They removed the torpedoes from the tubes, charged them with pressurized air, and fired them. The submarine was instantly freed.
From that experience Bishop Corrigan realized the need for faith and spirituality in a crisis. In fact, it taught him that preparation for battle must include fitness for the spirit and soul as well as fitness for the body. It also taught him that the time to prepare for a crisis is not when it’s already upon you – but long before. He used to say, “The best time to prepare for the storms of life is not when we are stuck in the mud at the bottom of the ocean, but long before we step into the boat.”
Do you remember Jesus’ words to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the eve of His Crucifixion? “Stand guard and pray that you may not enter temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). Our human spirit yearns to be fed, nurtured, and fit through the spiritual disciplines of Scripture reading, prayer, and meditation. Every servicemember needs to be on speaking terms with God – especially in a crisis. In preparation for His spiritual battles against Satan, Jesus frequently spent entire evenings praying for strength (Luke 3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28, 29; 11:1; 22:32, 40-46). In preparation for his physical battles David sought the LORD and after the conflict proclaimed, “You, O Lord, have clothed me with strength for battle” (Psalm 18:39). Therefore, be spiritually fit for the coming crisis!
Dear Father in heaven, prepare and arm me for the great spiritual conflict that awaits us all. Train my hands for battle and my spirit for warfare. Help me not to neglect my spiritual health, “For the outer man is perishing, the inner man is being renewed day by day; and our light affliction, which is but for a moment is producing in us an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Amen.