On May 26 at 4:30 a.m., Harrison Okene, a cook on a tugboat off the coast of Nigeria, heard a loud noise and thought, “That didn’t sound good!”
Within minutes, the choppy, storm-filled waters of the Atlantic Ocean began filling the vessel. Knowing that the tugboat was sinking, some of Okene’s crewmates headed for the escape hatch. When they opened it, water rushed in and swept the men into the sea.
The oncoming water also washed Okene back into the boat. In the darkness, he found his way to the officer’s washroom, and for the next few hours stood there, holding onto the overhead light fixture to keep his head out of the rising waters. When it was clear that this was no longer a safe place, he moved to another room and found another pocket of air.
Trapped 30 meters (or about 100 feet) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, Okene sat on a mattress in the dark and waited. Twenty-four hours later, he was still sitting in the boat at the bottom of the sea. By the end of the second day, all he could think about was his family and his wife of five years. All the while, the water continued to rise. He knew he was going to die.
Then, 72 hours after the boat went down, a diver on a “recovery mission” for bodies found Okene. As you can imagine, he was shocked when the “dead man” reached out and grabbed his hand.
Wasting no time, the diver put an oxygen mask and a harness on Okene and took him back to the surface.
(If you have not seen the video of this event, Google it. It is amazing!).
Now, that is a great story, but I have a better one for you.
We too were lost. We were “dead in our sins” (Ephesians 2:1-10). We too were trapped and had no way to save ourselves, so God did something: He came and got us!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
Okene is home with his family this Christmas. He is safe and sound because someone came and rescued him.
Someone came to get us as well. Jesus died so that we might live. Would you accept that gift and live a new life for him?
God wants you home “safe and sound” too.