How to Avoid Having Your Faith Shipwrecked

by Steven Braman

Let me tell you about my evening. I was eating dinner in Shanghai. I picked a little restaurant near the hotel called Johnny Moo. It is a knock off of Johnny Rockets. Basically a 50's style burger joint. I had a cheeseburger, fries and a banana milkshake. I had just settled in with my book, The Brothers Karamazov, when three men walked into the restaurant. There were two older men and a younger man who looked to be in his late twenties. They sat in the booth just next to me, so it was impossible to not listen in on their conversation.

Before I start relating the story, let me say that I later looked up information on the Internet to fill in the whole story. The young man had just arrived in Shanghai after being rescued at sea about a week ago. He had been trying to sail alone from the US to Hawaii in a 40 foot sailboat. He got caught in a large storm and the rudder on his boat broke. He activated an emergency signal and was picked up some time later by a merchant ship. Due to the high seas, his boat was damaged by the freighter, but he was rescued along with some of his possessions. The boat was a total loss from what I could find out.

The young man was telling his story to the other two who were helping him get on his way. The young man's goal was to sail around the world while writing a book and making a documentary about it. The young man was a former marine who had been injured in Iraq, and had undergone extensive therapy and surgeries. I listened to the three men talk about what his next steps were. After listening to them, I came to several conclusions. This young man was very impulsive as to what he does, and does not look toward the long-term goal. He seemed to plan only a few steps ahead and make impulsive decisions. After researching, I found out that he was a novice sailor, and had only first sailed a boat six months ago. From reading comments from lifetime sailors I learned that he was totally unprepared to tackle the trip he had planned. From listening to his conversation, he had the attitude that he could do anything.

Here is what I learned from my experience tonight. We need to prepare ourselves spiritually for our journey through life. We need to make sure that we do not live on the edge or put ourselves in dangerous spiritual situations when we are not prepared for them. This young man allowed himself to be put in a very dangerous and life-threatening situation that could have been lessened if he was more prepared. In doing this, he also put the people rescuing him in danger. When we put ourselves in danger spiritually, we sometimes involve our loved ones as well. We need to make sure that we prepare ourselves spiritually so that we can weather the storms of life and be able to help rescue others instead of being the ones being rescued.

Tonight made me think of I Timothy 1:18-20.

"This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme."

Let us not be like Hymenaeus and Alexander, but hold onto the faith.