By Holly Schilling
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16
Sometimes I think of my journey to Heaven like being on a cruise ship to a beautiful place. When the Captain welcomed me to the ship, I felt safe and warm. All my needs were met. I had a place to sleep peacefully, activities to keep me busy, and plenty of food. The ship banquets were amazing! At the banquet table, I met other passengers and began to love them like family. Everything was perfect on the cruise ship—almost like a small taste of the final destination!
One day the Captain invited me out onto the deck. I hadn’t really visited the deck since my initial arrival. Why should I? Everything was so wonderful inside the ship. But as the Captain and I walked on the deck together, I looked over the edge and saw people in the water who were drowning. A few people were calling out in desperation to be saved. Some were just beating the water in panic. Others were bobbing up and down as if they enjoyed the risk involved. Regardless, they were all heading into deeper, darker, colder waters.
“What do we do?” I asked the Captain in desperation.
“I want them all on the ship,” He said as He grabbed a lifeline from the side of the ship, “I want to rescue them all.”
We threw out the lifelines together. Some reached for them immediately and, with grateful hearts, climbed on board. Others seemed to fight our help. “Don’t you want to be saved?” I thought.
Maybe they weren’t really fighting me or the lifelines or even the Captain. Maybe they were just so used to fighting the wind and the waves and their fear that they just didn’t know how to do anything else.
The sky darkened as a storm approached. As the rain increased it was difficult to see the people. The Captain shouted over the wind, “We need more help!” I nodded my head in agreement and ran back to the banquet room. I stood there, soaking wet and begging for help to try and save the drowning people.
Some passengers got up immediately to join the fight. Others offered excuses like, “It’s dangerous on the deck! What if I fall in?” Or, “I’m really not strong enough to pull someone else onto the ship.” And, “The ropes hurt my hands. I have been wounded one too many times trying to save those people!”
I looked down at my own raw hands and understood. For a brief moment I stood there on the threshold of the banquet room. Do I stay here where it is comfortable or do I go back to the storm, the cries, and the ropes?
As I turned to run back and join the others on deck, I remembered the Captain’s hands…
They were covered in blood.