There’s a story that’s been on my mind this past week. I shared this story with some of my co-workers who got laid off some time ago as a way to help them see the situation a bit differently, and, in some small way, offer a bit of hope for an otherwise desperate time. That time was rather unsettling for all of us…a stormy time for anyone having to face unemployment in the face. I can’t remember where I heard this story, but I feel like it was shared in a talk at church. The details have since left me, and the topic that introduced it has escaped my memory. I’ve tried searching the Internet for this story and have failed to locate it. However, for some reason, I still remember the big picture…and the lesson it left upon my mind. There’s a reason why this story has stuck with me, so I’ll tell you what I remember of it…
There once was a sailor on a WWII American warship. He was a Mormon sailor among “rougher” sailors who didn’t particularly believe as he did. This sailor would pray on his bed day and night, but his bunk would offer no privacy from his jeering bunkmates. Regardless of how often they’d make fun of him, he humbly prayed for safety and protection upon the ship…every day.
One day, while he and his friends were on deck, an announcement of “All hands on deck!” blared from the ship’s loudspeaker. An enemy sub was spotted off in a distance from the side of the ship from where he stood, and two torpedoes headed their way! Immediately, his friends and people around him dropped to their knees and started to pray…but he didn’t. Not long thereafter, the torpedoes pounded the side of the ship, and this sailor was thrown off the side of the ship into the water. Some of his shipmates fell into the water as well.
The warship sank, but somehow, this sailor and some of his mates were able to survive long enough to be rescued. During their recovery at a hospital, some of his mates that were with him on the ship managed to talk to him and asked: “When we heard that the ship was under attack, why didn’t you fall to your knees and pray to your God like the others did at that time?” to which he replied, “I’ve been doing that long before those torpedoes ever came.”
When I first heard this story, I believe the topic was along the lines of standing up for what you believed, even when the world around you will make fun of you. However, when I shared this story with my co-workers who faced (with me) a potential layoff, a different lesson came to my mind: When you get thrown off a sinking boat, that can actually be a good thing.
And, so, this story comes to mind again at another critical moment in my life…and I’m reminded of the post I made about the chicken, turkey, and ham lunch that I had some time ago. I felt like God was trying to tell me something then…that no matter what happens, He’ll provide the means for me to survive. Just like how God sent ravens to feed Elijah during a time of famine, or how he sent him to a widow and her son and miraculously fed them all, so will God provide me a way to sustain me in my most desperate moments…at home, at work, on that proverbial “sinking boat”. He’s done it with me before; He most certainly will do it again. I just have to trust Him…and let God take care of the rest.