Last updated on July 19, 2022
Question: Where have you felt closest to God?
Lorilyn Roberts: I have scuba dived all over the world-the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Caribbean. Thirty minutes from my home in sunny Central Florida, dozens of cold, clear, springs bubble up and lure divers from all over the country to dive into the caves.
On many of these dives, particularly in the Red Sea, away from the noise and distractions of a busy life, I have been overcome with the immense beauty and vastness of the world beneath the ocean. On one particular night dive in the Florida Keys many years ago, my dive buddy and I were at about seventy-five feet, which is rather deep for a night dive. We were diving off a shipwreck, and when I shone my underwater light on the rustic red side of a sunken boat, I discovered a brown caterpillar-like creature with tons of legs. He was edging his way along at a rather slow pace. I probably stunned him by the intrusion of my bright light in what was otherwise total blackness.
As I floated beside the ship and examined the peculiar worm, I wondered why, in the middle of the vast Atlanta Ocean, I would stumble upon this rather ugly creature.
Asking questions of seeming insignificance can lead to discussions with latent deeper meaning. Why did God create me? Are the things we stumble upon in life purely by chance?
I am convinced I am here for such a time as this (and so are you). The books we write bear witness to the lives God has given us, from comedy to romance to tragedy. We feel God’s pleasure in the stories that touch us deeply, whether written by us or others. On that night dive way back long ago, when I was much younger and fitter, it is not surprising that God used a worm to reveal something about His nature-I have never forgotten it some twenty years later.
There is also a story in the Bible about a worm that God used in a powerful way. In the book of Jonah in the Old Testament, God sent Jonah to warn the people of the city of Nineveh to repent of their ways. After being eaten by the whale, Jonah traveled to the wicked city and did as God had asked him. But when God didn’t destroy the city and spared the inhabitants, Jonah brooded over God’s mercy to Israel’s enemies. Then God supplied a plant to give Jonah shade as he sat angrily in the hot noonday sun. The next day, however, God provided a worm to eat the plant.
Sometimes life seems like that. I can’t figure it out. But diving into the depths of the ocean for me is like diving into the depths of God’s love. I see His creativity in the world of worms, garden eels, and sea urchins; manta rays that glide over the sea wall, nurse sharks that hide under rocky ledges, and barracuda that amass in the hundreds. God’s underwater paradise gives me hope that harmony with the world through Him is possible. I may not understand it all, but I don’t have to. Perhaps God just wants me to enjoy the journey more and channel His creativity that I so much love into my soul.
As my kids get older, I look forward to once again putting on the weight belt, BC, tank, and octopus. I always enjoyed spitting into my face mask to clean it (after all, how many times in life is that acceptable behavior); and, of course, getting that last strand of hair out of the mask so as not to burn my eyes with seeping saltwater. I can’t wait to push that regulator button and hear the compressed air spew out (pretty important down there to be able to breathe) and I will waddle like a duck in all my gear to the back of the boat and wait my turn (imagining I look better than I feel with the cumbersome tank on my back).
I will make sure I remember all those hand signals (the out-of-air one might come in handy) and, hopefully, heave off the back of the boat in a spectacular somersault. The rising bubbles as I sink and the sound of the regulator imitating my breathing will bring me back to my favorite pastime. I will be wooed once more to enjoy God’s presence in a fabulous world of unparalleled beauty. And for a brief moment, nothing else will matter.