When my family and I lived in Auckland, we belonged to a wonderful home group. One of the members of the home group owned a boat, and in the summer we would all trek up north of Auckland and enjoy a long weekend on the Waitematā Harbour.
One particular year, we were boating off the coast of Snell’s Beach with our families. The children were towed behind the boat in inflatables and we swam and enjoyed fellowship and fun. Dusk fell and I decided I would like to try some fishing. A friend and I sat on the transom of the boat, legs dangling in the water, rods baited and lowered as we sat chatting. It was an idyllic evening: the sun setting, the children lolling in inflatables and the ocean calm and still … paradise…
My friend’s fishing rod jolted, she excitedly pulled back on the rod and started to reel in her prospective catch. We could see into the clear, still water that a good-sized snapper was at the end of the hook. I grabbed a net and prepared to help move the fish from the water into the boat, when all of a sudden, a huge mako shark grabbed the fish and line, jumped up out of the water in front of us, twisted its powerful body and dove back down into the deep water. My friend let go of the rod, and I screamed: ‘Get the kids out of the water—Shark! Shark!’
We pulled on the ropes of the inflatables and the children clambered on board. We were all shaking. It was not just that it was a shark, it was that the shark was huge, powerful and menacing as it jumped out of what appeared to be a still, calm and peaceful setting.
Over the years, I have often reflected on the spiritual application of this event. The enemy of our souls lies in wait in the shadows and, when we least expect it, he jumps out, steals our provision, terrorises our families and destroys our peace. It is so typically demonic, and we have all experienced these acts of terrorism.
Throughout the Bible, we see the supreme power of our God against the elements—the winds, waves and the creatures of the sea: the children of Israel passing through a sea as the waves stack up either side; the whale who swallowed and released Jonah; the God who promises in Isaiah to punish the sea creature leviathan.
We see this same rescuing power reflected in the ministry of Jesus as he commands the winds and waves, calls the fish to come into the nets of his disciples, and masterfully overcomes the terrorist of all terrorists in the lives of those who accept him as Lord and Saviour.
We may not be immune to sudden attack, but we do have a mighty and powerful saviour who will fight for us. He is faithful, he is to be trusted and he is ‘mighty to save’!