His face was radiating and swollen. Blisters were surfacing on his forehead and cheekbones. The torturous sun beat down mercilessly upon him. His lips were cracked and bleeding. He knew he shouldn't, but found himself licking them often, as it provided the briefest moment of relief after doing so. He had been adrift in his dinghy* for many days now.
At times he thought he saw land, but as he drifted closer, he realized that it was merely a low-hanging cloud on the horizon, or merely a mirage, a figment of his own imagination. A lesser man would have lost all hope by then, but somehow he clung to the hope of rescue, as uncertain as that may have been.
The onset of night brought him welcome relief from the blazing fireball overhead. He curled up in a fetal position in the bottom of his thin-skinned craft. The coolness of the water below carried through the floor. He pressed his face closer, as it brought relief to his painful blisters. His head swimming dizzily from the day's exposure, he drifted into a deep sleep, his body attempting to recover and mend itself overnight.
It had been two days since he had exhausted the last of his fresh water supply. He stared at the salt water around his craft. He knew he shouldn't even think about drinking it, as anyone with common sense knew. Yet, it looked so good, seemingly beckoning to him, offering a promise of relief to his parched throat and his tongue, which cleaved to the roof of his mouth. He hardly had any saliva and his vocal cords felt like rusty piano wires grating against his Adam's apple as he swallowed. He stooped down and took a drink, the cool, refreshing liquid washing over the insides of his mouth and throat, lubricating as he swallowed. He didn't even mind the salty taste. Just this once, he thought to himself...
A work of fiction? Or a representation of the reality I knew all too well?
Yes, I was well out to sea in my little boat, groping to hear from my Maker. Maybe you also are adrift upon the waters of life with only a thin-skinned craft keeping you from drowning in the troubled waters surrounding you?
The storms of life come and the waves threaten to capsize your meager means of security. You know what lurks beneath those waters in the darkness, waiting to devour you. You cling to your personal salvation, the only thing keeping you afloat, yet you remain alone, isolated both from the water and from your fellow man. At least you're in command of your own destiny, the captain of your own ship -- or dinghy, as it were...
What if you saw a large ship passing by in the night? You're cold and alone at night, adrift on the waters with no sense of direction. The lights of the ship can be seen from miles away on the horizon. You hear the faint strains of music and laughter aboard with greater clarity as it draws nearer, amplified by the water. There you sit, shivering in the cold of the night. Tired, hungry, thirsty, burned out, but more than anything else, you're utterly alone.
It's the ship of salvation -- a ship teeming with life, a life of togetherness, a community of true friends. The crew works together, swabbing the decks, maintaining the ship, feeding the crew, staying on course. Yet they are always on the lookout to rescue anyone adrift in the ocean. Don't let it pass you by!
You're welcome aboard the "Ark" offering salvation from the flood of wickedness that is now sweeping over the earth.
I climbed aboard, letting my dinghy drift away into the waters. We'd love for you to come aboard, too!
* Dinghy - a small boat of shallow draft carried by a larger vessel, used as a lifeboat.