Floating with sharks

There are few weeks that I could classify as “my favorite” weeks of the year. Certainly the week before Christmas is up there, but so is the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” Last night I watched an actual ‘new show’ (many years they just run the same shows, but weirdo’s like me still watch them again) on the tragedy of the USS Indianapolis.

Sunk by a Japanese sub in the Fillipines near the end of WWII, the Indianapolis carried a crew of nearly 1200 people. 300 people went down with the ship, while the rest of the crew floundered in the water 5 days until rescue. Unfortunately there were less than 300 survivors when all was said and done. The wounded were eaten by sharks while exposure to the elements and lack of water killed the rest.

Can you imagine how scary it would be floating in the open ocean? The uncertainty of living through the night with sharks feeding on the dead and wounded, and perhaps coming for you? I can think of no greater nightmare than this. No greater uncertainty than this. How do you think you would respond?

Before he died, the priest comforted and strengthened morale with his prayers. Many others went insane, beat each other, and even kicked a shark attack victim off their raft. But one thing that struck me from the special last night was that people who “weren’t religious, began to talk and ask me questions about God.” Some people ‘found God’ out there on the water.

Everyday life is really no less precarious. Regardless of how secure we feel, tomorrow is never certain. Our certainty and confidence of ultimate rescue, no matter how bleak or how mundane (every day is a gift), is ultimately found in Christ.

I’m reminded of this Heidelberg Catechism Q and A.

1 Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my Own,but belong body and soul, in life and in death-

to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,

and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.

He also watches over me in such a way

that not a hair can fall from my head

without the will of my Father in heaven:

in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him,Christ, by his Holy Spirit,

assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and

ready from now on to live for him.

I hope this is what I would think of if I were floating out on the open ocean. But I hope that I think of it even now, while I’m not.

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