72 Hours And 100 Feet

Neal Pollard

By now, many have heard the incredible story of Harrison Odjegba Okene, the Nigerian cook whose incredible survival and rescue from the tugboat where he served as cook has been made public. He was actually rescued near the end of May, 2013, but video of the rescue has just recently hit the internet.  Okene rose early on the morning of May 26 at about 4:30 A.M. and was in the toilet when the tugboat keeled over and sank, eventually drowning the 10 Nigerian crew members and Ukrainian captain.  Okene groped in the dark until he found a cabin where there was an air pocket.  He spent the next three days, certain no one would look for or could find the small boat but still praying, reciting psalms his wife sent to him each day, and reflecting on his entire life.  His rescue, by a Dutch diving crew who happened to be working at an oil rig 75 miles away, was as much a shock to divers—considering this strictly a recovery effort— as it was to him, but disbelief quickly gave way to joy.  In a space of about four square feet, 100 feet from the surface of the vast Atlantic Ocean, Harrison Odjegba Okene, lived to tell this incredible tale (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/12/04/man-survives-60-hours-at-bottom-atlantic-rescued-after-finding-air-pocket-in/).

There will likely never be a story of rescue more incredible than this unless we are thinking in spiritual terms.  From that perspective, each person who is saved by God is an incredible, unlikely rescue.  In a world of darkness, each of us finds ourselves groping along and heading toward almost certain spiritual death.  Most will not make it through “alive” (Eph. 2:1).  Yet, Paul speaks of (Col. 1:13) and Peter implies (2 Pe. 2:7) a heavenly rescue mission.  The difference between our story and that of Okene is that we can choose to be rescued or, as most do, elect to perish.  It should humble us and strike us with awe that we have had access to His saving plan and that we can submit to it and be saved.  Most incredible is the length to which God was willing to go and the price He was willing to pay to find us and save us.  May I suggest that salvation from sin is a bigger story than surviving in a capsized, tiny boat for 72 hours 100 feet deep? One forestalls physical death for a time, but the other eliminates spiritual death for eternity!


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