The ocean liner Achille Lauro sailed perpetually under a dark cloud. In 1953 it collided with another ship. In 1975 it rammed a Lebanese vessel, killing four people. In 1981 it suffered a fire that claimed two lives. In 1985, Palestinian terrorists grabbed world headlines by seizing the ship, slaying passenger Leon Klinghoffer, and dumping him and his wheelchair overboard. In December of 1994, off Somalia, a fire broke out in the engine room, forcing all 1,000 aboard to abandon ship. Two days later, the Achille Lauro sank to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
Do you think of yourself as having a destiny similar to the Achille Lauro? Maybe your heart echoes this paraphrase of Job's complaints:
"I wish I had never been born!" (He says this sort of thing for 13 verses!) "I'm up against a brick wall with no way out. All I ever do is sigh and groan. My troubles are like a sandbag sitting on top of me. It's like I've been shot with poisoned arrows, besieged by an army of terrors! Do you think I'm complaining without good reason? My life is like eating tasteless food; it makes me sick. If only God would just kill me and get it over with! The pain never stops. I'm too weak to hope anymore. Day and night, I have nothing but misery. My time is running out, and there's no hope. Someday soon I'll be gone. You'll look around, but I will have vanished. I have a right to complain and be bitter. I can't get any sleep, or if I do, I have terrifying dreams. I'd prefer strangling to that kind of sleep! God uses me for target practice. Why doesn't He just forgive me? Soon I'll be dead."
Have you ever felt that low in the water? God did not abandon Job, but sustained him through his suffering. He does not abandon us, either. Even if you sense a dark cloud is following you around, even if you realize that after a painstaking search, you have found no answers to a myriad of questions, God is faithful.
We serve a God that can reach us in our time of need, no matter where we are. The psalmist knew this by experience: "If I make my bed in the depths. . . even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast" (Ps. 139:10). Even if we feel submerged in sorrows, sinking down to the bottom of the ocean, from the deepest of those depths He can lift us up.
Turn to Him, call to Him, seek His face. He wants to be found, and He is never far away from hearts that reach out to Him.
Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.
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