After being a stay at home mom for the majority of her life, I really needed the break. We went on a 5 day cruise. I enjoyed being on a floating resort. I tried new cuisine, hung-out by the pool, took naps, chatted with fellow cruisers, and enjoyed the local culture when we were in-port.
At our first stop we visited some Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. Our guides were knowledgeable and it was interesting to hear about the history and culture of the Mayans. Remember the fear of December 21, 2012 all over the world? Blame it on the Mayans. Their calendar ended on that date because they believed something cataclysmic was going to happen and end the world as we know it. Almost two years later we are still here. I guess the Bible was right, no one knows the day or the hour ...
At our second stop, we decided to go downtown and do a little shopping. It was uneventful - I was able to get a couple "unique" items. After we got back to the ship Kevin decided he wanted to watch the ship leave the pier. We went to the third deck to watch people embarking from their shore excursions and shopping. The crowd thinned out and it was obvious that we would be leaving soon. That's when it happened.
A young man, who looked to be in his early twenties, came running off of the ship. Several crew members stopped him. He animatedly waved money in the air and was obviously pleading to get off of the ship. As we watched the young man pleading his case and the crew members trying their best to get him to return to the ship, hubby and I swapped scenarios of what could possibly be so important to leave the ship and chance being left behind.
Perhaps he received a message that someone in his party was stuck at the dock entrance not having enough money to pay the taxi.
Maybe he owed money to one of the duty free shops that was on the pier - and his integrity was pushing him to pay for what he owed.
Whatever the reason, we watched this exchange for at least 7 minutes when we saw him stealthily position himself and slip by one of the crew members. About this time someone emerged from the ship, an older woman, pleading with him to get back on the ship. I'm convinced it was his mother ...
It was to no avail, he turned around and ran down the pier. People were marveling and questioning his sanity (myself included). We stayed there awaiting his return. Minutes ticked by. After about 15 minutes, the dock crew pushed the ramp onto the ship, lifted the ropes securing the ship to the dock and the ship slowly began to move away.
At this moment the young man emerged from around the corner walking at a casual pace - until he noticed the boat was moving. He began running and yelling for the boat to wait - it was just too late. We saw a man walk up to him and escort him to another ship that happened to be a part of the same cruise line, they were getting ready to depart as well.
My husband made this comment, "Well, because he didn't believe he got left behind ..."
People were earnestly pleading with him not to go his own way because the consequences would be too high. He even had a family member beg him to get back on the ship. But, he was determined to do it his way. He took the cruise ship's staff for granted - he just believed they would wait on him - he was a customer after all.
How many of us know someone who has been in this situation spiritually? We all probably know a co-worker, friend, or family member who has yet to give their life to Jesus. They have been witnessed to countless times. Family members have pleaded with them to surrender their lives to Jesus. But they continue to walk in their own way, down their own path because they figure they have all the time in the world to get it right.
How many of us can say that was our story? We insisted we had time and kept going our own way? My story is one I fear many fall under. You think that just because you are traveling on the ship (going to church) you are a customer (saved/born again) and you won't be left behind (judged and sent to hell).
The harsh reality is - though Jesus has not come back yet He will come. The Bible tells us that the only reason He hasn't come yet is because He really is trying to give everyone time to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). But the day will come when the ramp will be taken away and the ship will leave the shore - whether we are on it or not.
There are arguments about God being cruel and unloving if He is willing to let judgment befall mankind like that. But the truth is that His love is so great that He provided a way for us through Jesus and He is taking His time so that we have an opportunity to experience that love. We have to consciously accept on our own. He won't force us - He didn't create robots that He programmed to carry out His will. He wants us to choose Him without us being "mind-controlled" ...
So, we all, everyone on earth, have a choice. We can either heed the warnings presented to us urging us to get on the boat or we can choose our own way expecting time to be on our side and risk being left behind ...
It is my earnest prayer that you have already chosen to be on the boat.
Just Around the Corner,