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The Deadliest Catch

July 29th, 2008

Focus Text: Psalm 46: 2-3 (NKJV)

2 Therefore we will not fear,
         Even though the earth be removed, 
         And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
         Though the mountains shake with its swelling.  Selah  


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Ok, so I’m absolutely crazy about the Discovery Channel show, Deadliest Catch.  If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on one of the truly entertaining experiences of the current reality television phenomenon.

Here’s the premise: ship captains and their crews go fishing for crab.  (cue crickets chirping)

Hmmm, well . . . that sounds absolutely invigorating!  Ah, but you see, there’s more to the story than meets the “eye-patch.”  These rough and ragged swashbucklers hoist the mainsails (or in this case, start the diesel engines) and point their compasses towards the vast and barren seascape of the frigid Bering Sea. Thirty foot walls of water and frightening squalls the size of the Titanic threaten to capsize their vessels with each heart-pounding wave.  Ice often overtakes their boats, crippling them in a dismal layer of frozen glass– making life on these vessels more than difficult.  Yeah, the show is awesome!

Men sometimes fall overboard; actually, they fall overboard less than you might think.  At first glance, the drastic up and down motion of the ships– ships that often disappear beneath ginormous waves– would make one think that the crew would simply fall out into the water.  And when they do, their shipmates have only seconds to react because the subarctic temperatures, coupled with the choppy and restless sea, almost guarantee certain death to whomever plunges into the icy deep.  Men have died on the show. Others have fallen in and have lived to tell about it.  

All in all, the fascinating feature of the show isn’t the job the men do, it’s the conditions they do it in.  To capture the treasure of a boatload full of crab that might be worth in excess of a million dollars, these “sea dogs” put themselves in harms way by subjecting themselves to the gravest of conditions.  They go days without sleep.  They often don’t eat, and when they do, much of what they consume seems barely edible.  Huge crates and “crab pots” sometimes become dislodged from their positions and hapharzardly fly inches from their heads, threatening to crush them instantly.  Stakes are high.  Injuries are rampant. Death is a legitimate threat.  Tempers are unbridled.  Ratings are high.

The key to their survival is simple: it’s the boat.  It may seem obvious, but life outside of the boat on the Bering Sea . . . is well, death.  The camera crew tie themselves down to the boat.  The crew hold tightly to the sides of the boat when huge waves crash over them.  All in all, the whole scene on the boat is pretty frightening.

That’s why we watch, not necessarily because we’re afraid, but because we know that they’re afraid.  But fear is not entertaining when it crests over the bow of your own personal boat.  

Psalm 46: 2-3 kind of cracks me up.  It begins with an encouraging statement, “Therefore, we will not fear.”  Ah, that’s nice.  Sure, I won’t be afraid.  Then, bam!  We find ourselves swabbing the decks on an episode of Deadliest Catch . . . “Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though its waters roar and be troubled.  Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”  

Yikes!  Oh yeah, that doesn’t sound scary at all!  The earth is collapsing around us and mountains are falling into the ocean.  Nope, no fear here.  Whatever!  This reads like a scene straight out of one of those apocalyptic movies like Armageddon or End of Days.

I think that sometimes we sit back and view our walk with Christ from the safety of the couch.  Trusting, walking, and remaining unafraid are easy as long as we can just push a button and change the channel. But what about the moments that you are actually in the storm . . . yourself?!  That’s when we face the realities of the icy sea of fear.  

The unknown.  The past.  The future.  The sickness.  The family.  The temptation.  The weakness.  The habit.  The relationship.  The truth that must be revealed.  The truth that has been revealed and now torments the mind.  Waves are crashing upon the lives of many, but few can say, “I won’t be afraid.”

Who are the fearless ones?  Are they super-Christians who don’t have problems?  Do they read the Bible eight times a day and pray for eight hours?  Do they laugh in the face of temptation and literally walk across the waves of hardship as if it was just another day at the beach?  If that’s what you think, then you’ll join the millions who never try because they think the goal of “fearless sailing” is unattainable.

No, it’s really much simpler . . . not easy, but simple.  Just secure yourself in the boat.  

What is the boat?  Your relationship . . . your connection . . . your lifeline to God.  He is unsinkable.  He’ll never capsize.  His love has eternal buoyancy and you are guaranteed to stay afloat.  That’s why you can face the “Bering Sea” of whatever you’re dealing with and confidently say, “I won’t afraid!  Not because I’m strong!  Not because I’m perfect!  But because the One to whom I’m clinging will never sink, no matter how high the waves may rise!”

Maybe you face a sea of real issues and you feel the fear rising up within you.  I know that some of you are sailing headlong into new seasons that you think guarantee your failure– maybe it’s school– maybe it’s a decision– maybe it’s your past that threatens to capsize your present.  Hang on, baby!  You don’t have to sink!






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