Every time I go scuba diving I'm in awe of the stunning beauty that lives below the surface. The vibrant colors of the fish and the intricate patterns of coral provide a living showcase. Every single inch is alive with movement. What a testimony to God's creativity!
But the USS Kittiwake didn't start out as a hotel for fish. It was a World War II submarine rescue vessel designed to support Navy submarine missions. In 2011 it was deliberately sunk off the coast of Grand Cayman to create an artificial reef.
As I swam through the corridors and hatchways, spying the corals and tube sponges sprouting from the sides of the vessel, watching schools of shimmering fish dart about, it occurred to me that the designers of this ship probably never imagined that it would rest serenely on the bottom of the sea nestling an abundance of life.
It also occurred to me that I am a wreck as well. Much of my life has not gone according to my plans. I have also been sunk.
Psalm 31:12 ESV: "I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel."
My hopeful plans for the futures of my two sons have been sunk. They both died at very young ages. My aspirations for my daughter have been sunk. She is a struggling single parent. We have lost a lucrative business—torpedoed and sunk during the great recession.
Have you been shipwrecked too?
The bible doesn't promise that we won't have adversity, as a matter of fact, it states just the opposite.
Besides predicting trouble; however, God's word promises peace if we learn to rely upon Him.
Matthew 5:3-4 ESV : “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
There is a special place in God's heart for those of us who mourn. We who are shipwrecked can ask God to repurpose our lives like the Kittiwake.
When my first son, Chris, died, and I felt myself sinking into emotional and spiritual depths, I turned to alcohol for comfort. At first it felt like a safe little lifeboat, but eventually, I sank even deeper into despair. But now I am an active member of a 12 step program that has given new purpose to my life.
Sometimes I am the ship, and I provide shelter for other suffering women, particularly those who struggle with loss and addiction. I can testify that my sons are with the Lord, and I will see them again. I can have hope and stay sober.
Other times, I am the pretty little fish, swimming over to a meeting, looking for comfort and fellowship.
Another way that God has redesigned my sunken vessel is through my writing. I have connected with others who have lost children and with families struggling with cancer.
In this fallen world, those of us who are sunk have the opportunity to become an artificial reef for others, and in turn, we enjoy the beauty and color of intimate relationships.
Has God begun to repurpose your life as well? Or are you still sinking? I'd love to hear about it.
John 12:24 ESV /
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.