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SCUBA DIVING OFF THE TURNIFFE ISLANDS

Last updated on October 29, 2023

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”


Ephesians 6:10-11

Scuba diving is not for the faint of heart. But my desire to see God’s beauty underneath the ocean outweighed my apprehension of what could happen. While it’s been many years since I have scuba-dived, one dive is very memorable.

I was on a trip with my diving friends off the Turniffe Islands near Belize. Whatever I had for lunch that day didn’t agree with me, but I wasn’t willing to miss the dive. I packed my diving gear—tank, octopus, BC, mask, fins, and snorkel— made sure I had 3,500 pounds of compressed air in the tank and released some of the air from the regulator to ensure it was working correctly. I was good to go in every way except one.

My buddy and I jumped off the back of the dive boat and began our descent, equalizing the pressure in our ears on the way down. We descended to fifty feet, and I gave the thumbs-up signal for “I am okay.” The high-definition Blu-ray cinematography was exhilarating. Multi-colored coral, sea anemones, blue damsels, grouper, and the occasional eel and nurse shark were familiar sights on the dives. I often wondered why God would create a world under the ocean with so much perfection that most would never experience.

However, as much as I wanted to enjoy the dive, my stomach was flip-flopping. I swam over to hide behind some red fire coral. Like a lit firecracker, my lunch burst through my regulator in a spectacular display, falling like ash all around me. I expected the regurgitated food to disappear into the ocean’s abyss, but I was fifty feet down and weightless with my BC on. Clumps of half-digested food floated in my face.

I looked past the mess to see my dive buddy approaching me. I motioned him away, but he didn’t know what I meant. As he neared, particles floated between our face masks. If only he knew what was floating around us, but I didn’t tell him.

Reflecting on that unpleasant experience, I see sin being like that. We live with evil our entire lives. It surrounds us, torments us, and we can become so close to it that we don’t even recognize it.

Sin not only entangles us, but it will destroy us without the tools God gives us, as described in Ephesians 6

On many dives, I never felt closer to God than in the quietness of the ocean’s depths. But on that particular day, amid all God’s beauty, undigested food floated within inches of my face, and I didn’t feel close to God.

Sin lurks in this world everywhere. Perhaps guardian angels protect us more than we realize. But the tools God has given us will defeat evil, the devil, and his minions every time we employ them.

Do we not sometimes drift along in our spiritual life, like on a dive, unaware of our perilous condition because we have gotten lazy, complacent, or have given into some sin?

Jesus bore our sins on the cross so we could receive forgiveness and spend eternity with Him. I have contemplated on occasion that if I were the only human God created, He would have sent His Son to die for me. In my limited earthly understanding, knowing my sinful, rebellious heart, I can’t fathom that kind of grace. I am too small, and He is too big.

Without Jesus Christ, we are all eternally doomed. It is easy to say we are Christians, love the Lord and want to live for Him. If we are halfway decent Christians, we will read our Bible and pray daily, bless our food at mealtimes, attend church regularly, and be kind to our family and others, thanking God for His blessings.

But if that is all we did, would it entitle us to be included in chapter eleven of Hebrews’ list of heroes? Are we willing to sacrifice our lives for Him?

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs gives striking examples of Christians who paid the ultimate price, but radical Christianity can also express itself without dying. What is our testimony? Can we say that God has transformed our lives into something remarkable for the Kingdom? Can we share the sacrifices we’ve made to encourage others? Are we imitators of Goodness that brings glory to God?

When Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, He was weakened physically by fasting. It was then that Satan tempted Him. Satan knows when we’re weak.

In times of temptation, if we pray and do what God has told us in Ephesians 6, He will pour out His protection, filling our hearts with His love and enabling us to escape the devil’s wiles.

After that dive, I returned to the boat and rested. God took care of me on that day, a reminder that in this sinful world, God will come alongside us and give us rest after a spiritual battle.

If we look for “goodness,” God can redeem unpleasantries. He can use even the lowly things for His glory.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to call on you when sin threatens to hurt me or those whom I love. Even when the evil of this world is all around me, please help me to see your Goodness still. Help me to love You more and this world less.

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