Thursday, April 9, 2009

Three Sisters?

Years ago my favorite dive spot was a bay south of Ensenada, Mexico called Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters). From my Southern California home it was only a half day drive. I would take a group of college guys from the church down for a few days of diving, male bonding and fellowship. The male bonding took the form of a night launching thousands of bottle rockets (with rapport) at each other. The burns were within acceptable limits. So many wonderful stories here: Gil’s truck catching on fire, me being trapped under water..I was seconds from death…really. The bonding worked. One of those guys is still with me 35 years later, My brother in law Dave and we still do everything together. One regular event was a night dive. Have you ever swum in the open ocean at night with only a flashlight? It is like walking through a graveyard…alone…at midnight…on October 31…and you hear weird noises…that kind of feeling. (Watching Jaws is not recommended prior to a night dive, but that is a different story from a solo night dive in Half Moon Bay). Nothing really big or eventful ever happened on those trips. (the near death experience may be considered an execption) I did try to catch a lobster that was so big I could not close my had across his back. He was at least 18” long and 8” across his back. Did you know lobsters can laugh? I didn’t either. Anyway, there is no comparison between diving in daylight and diving by flashlight. I was oddly reminded of those days when I read something from Isaiah 50. It is the biblical answer of a Chinese proverb - 'Don't curse the darkness - light a candle.' Adlai Stevenson used it praising Eleanor Roosevelt in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1962 - 'She would rather light candles than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world. President KENNEDY used a variation in his 1960 acceptance speech. It sounds so profound, don’t curse the darkness, light a candle. I did read one blog from a self designated grump that challenged the whole idea. He preferred to curse the darkness. I suspect his problems began with trying to find a match and a candle in the dark. (Why does the electricity only go out on a hot, humid, moonless night after the battery shelf life has expired?) Isaiah takes a different approach to the darkness problem:

ISA 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

For Isaiah, darkness is no big deal. He just trusts in the Lord who can see all things clearly. I understand that. Often in my light night travels between my college dorm and Deanna’s house 100 miles away I would encounter pea thick fog on in the foothills. Visibility was sometimes only a few feet. I had a second floor dorm room and knew the fog was typically a ground fog. 18 wheelers could see just fine. My practice was to jump in behind a big rig and let him show me the way. Worked like a charm, but often I had no idea where I was. I drove seeing ONLY the tail light of the big rig. Isaiah goes on to say:

ISA 50:11 But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.

The warning is pretty clear. Do things with the light you alone can provide and ignore everything outside that little circle of light. That is kind of like what you have to do when you dive in the open ocean at night. You pretend there is NOTHING outside your 8’ circle of light that could hurt you. Of course it is a lie you tell yourself. The fact is everything imaginable that can do harm is somewhere outside that circle of light….and some of it is big enough to eat you. Chances are there is nothing very close, but it is just a guess. Right now I know some people who are committed…but struggling…to walk in the dark with only the light of God’s Word to guide them through very difficult times. They are being mocked and abused by people who have put their whole confidence in the light of their own imagination. They think they see all things clearly, but in reality they have no idea what is outside their very dimly lit world. Some day their light will go out completely. According to Isaiah, if that happens literally before it happens metaphorically….read v 11 again for yourself. To you who are driving in the darkness following only the tail light of God, stay close to His bumper. He see’s all perfectly clear from his vantage point on high. You will get home safe, and there is a really good chance you will show others how to do it too.


heidi jo said...

wow... i love this... isn't God amazing to give you such FUN experiences that turned out to be life lessons as well? how incredible! tail lights... hmmm... (so God's bumper sticker... i think it might be one that scrolls various Scriptures as needed... but I am the Way comes to mind.) :)

i have only been diving once in Crete. it is AMAZING and i can see how it could fast become addicting. it is other worldly, peaceful, beautiful. (unless of course, you get stuck under water and are seconds from death!)

now - as to diving alone? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING! you NEVER dive alone! ALWAYS have a partner! good gracious....

Aimee said...

I love this post Dad, very encouraging.

Doni Brinkman said...

Well said. I am curious though...why DID you dive at night if there was nothing to see?