Not without Hope

I’m a slow reader. Very slow. I actually envy those who read quickly. I took a speed reading class in college and it just didn’t do the trick.

Yet every so often (like ever few years) I’ll pick up a book and finish it quicker than it takes me to mail something to Florida. Such was the case with this book: Not Without Hope. I alluded to the 4 boaters (all played either college or NFL) in my last sermon on Jonah 2, and then quickly ordered the book.

Not Without Hope chronicles their trip out 75 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, the bonehead decision that landed them in the water, and what happened while they waited for rescue. I didn’t find the book brilliantly written, but you could argue neither are Hemingway’s books. Yet Earnest Hemingway was brilliantly simple in his writing and so I guess, perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why I kept turning the pages. Conversational language along with a riveting survival story, and in the water. That’s my bag.

But again, reading a story in which you already know 3 out of 4 human beings die is tough. So I felt the dichotomy of excitement and sadness.

God is not absent in the story, according to Nick Shuyler, as the survivors cry out to God, and read the Lord’s prayer several times together. Schuyler, who describes himself as, “not as religious as Marquis and Corey,” regularly cries out for God’s help.

This was probably the hardest part to read. They all cried out to God, yet only one of them saw deliverance.

All of us, who are still alive, have cried out to God, and felt like He didn’t deliver us out of our situation. Or that He didn’t deliver us in a “timely” manner; for me the time is always “now” and God will often say, “not yet.” That’s actually one of the main reasons why the early Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah: he some things “right,” but didn’t do enough “now.”

Many saints (Christians) have cried out to God, and have not been delivered from their situation. But though they’ve left this world crying, they’ve entered into a new world laughing. Jesus often chooses to deliver us from death, but sometimes he delivers us directly to Himself via death.

So did He fall through on His promise in such cases? No. The good news for us is Romans 8:38: “neither death nor life, angels nor rulers…..sharks or drowning (GIV-Geoff’s International Translation) can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

How he delivers us is up for grabs, His grabs. Where He delivers us is not. Take it not from me, but from one who the Lord delivered from many situations, and eventually delivered him straight to Himself via an early death: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (II Tim 4:18)”

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