S.O.S. It is a well-known universal plea for help, a distress signal. Do you know what those three words stand for? I didn’t. I had to look it up. It means Save Our Ship! As a parent I equate my “ship” with my “family”. As desperate parents whose children are involved in all kinds of destructive choices and behaviors or who suffer from mental illness that seems to be destroying their lives, we have sent out S.O.S. messages. Some of us have sent out many pleas for help.
Our message? Won’t someone please come and save my ship? I think I’m sinking! Maybe yours feels like the Titanic story. You thought all was well, then you struck an iceberg. You knew you were in potentially dangerous waters, but you believed all would be well. Then it happened and now your ship has been ripped open. You’re taking on sea water. You may be a Christian. Jesus is on the ship with you, but he seems to be sound asleep, unaware of your desperate need.
Save my ship, Lord! Wake up! Do something! Hurry! If you don’t help us we’ll drown! I don’t want my child to die! I don’t want my family to be shipwrecked! My child’s life could be ruined and my home could be destroyed without your help. In the case of the Titanic many who succeeded in getting off the sinking ship still died. They froze to death in the frigid waters because help didn’t arrive in time. We fear this, too. Help may come too late.
God is never too late. It may look like it, but he is always right on time! His timetable is usually not mine, though, and I sure don’t like that. As I’ve said before in my blogs, it all gets down to trust. How much do I really trust God? Will I trust even though I can’t see any visible signs of him being on my damaged ship with me? Even if it goes down – your child goes to jail or prison (Carol Kent writes about this in When I Lay My Isaac Down), your daughter gets pregnant or your son gets a girl pregnant, your child still struggles with depression – meds aren’t working or they refuse to keep taking them, they wrestle with anorexia or bulimia, they can’t stop cutting themselves , their alcohol and drug use turns into a full-blown addiction, they attempt suicide . . .
There is a huge gash in your ship’s helm. It looks catastrophic . . . but God is at the helm. He is the captain of your ship and he will never leave you! Just as the captain of the Titanic refused to abandon his ship, God will never abandon you. No matter what happens he will be in it with you, right in the middle of it. And he is with our sons and daughters — no matter what they’ve done or what’s been done to them.
A name of God that gives me great comfort is Ever-Present. He promises to be with us in anything and everything. “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Corrie ten Boom has shared these profound words with multitudes in her book The Hiding Place. Her sister spoke them to her as she lay dying in a Jewish concentration camp. With her sister dying, her dearest and closest friend in this terrible place, Corrie found herself questioning God, wondering where he was. Where was the answer to their S.O.S. messages? Didn’t he care? Was he powerless to help? Didn’t he love them?
I believe God gave Corrie’s sister these words to reassure her of the truth of his constant, inseparable love when she needed it most. “No pit is too deep” . . . even if our ship sinks to the bottom of the sea, like the Titanic. God is still there and his love is with us. Yes, even there. This truth gives me the peace and hope I need to keep trusting. His promises are always true. They will never wear out or fade. Even when I don’t understand I can still trust his love. Maybe one day I will be given understanding, but if not . . . I will trust the Captain of my ship!
Here are a few Bible verses that comfort me when I wonder where God is and am questioning his love:
“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you . . .” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there . . .” (Pslams 139:8 – 11 NIV)
“. . . neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV).