We have no lasting city here on earth
11th March 2013 · 0 Comments
By Jerome LeDoux
The terrible, extremely messy and smelly odyssey of cruise ship Carnival Triumph reverberated throughout the United States and much of the world around us. A Coast Guard official said that a leak in a fuel oil return line caused the engine-room fire that disabled the Carnival Triumph luxury liner, turning her into a floating cesspool. Tropical heat near the Mexican border, the lack of any air conditioning or sewage disposal, plus the daunting number of 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members chased the passengers from their staterooms onto the decks for lounging and sleeping. Thus they remained sub divo for the remainder of the trip, finally being towed into Mobile.
Why into Mobile? “Because,” a Carnival spokesman assured us, “there was a powerful current running away from Mexico in the direction of Mobile which would have made towing the ship into Mexico quite prohibitive.”
Watching TV shots of various parts of the crippled ship, it was a chilling feeling to recognize every section of the ship panned by the cameras. After all, Carnival Triumph is the same ship some of us Our Mother of Mercy Members boarded just three months ago on December 3 in Galveston with Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico as our destinations. Imagining oneself living under such unsanitary, smelly, uncomfortable conditions for five days is not a pretty picture. The irony of it all is that a cruise is one of the elite, signature forms of recreation that shout out to the world how great it is to be alive and to have such joyful means of enjoying life. But the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry.
Is such an ugly picture enough to jolt us into realizing that a cruise is a miniscule part of our sojourn here on earth that involves many trips which must lead to our eternal home? Our stubborn attachment to the city of man is challenged by the City of God in Hebrews 13:14, “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.”
Wherever we turn we are reminded of the City of God toward which we had better wend our way much sooner than later. Just days ago, stark TV journal videos of damaged or devastated homes and other buildings in
Hattiesburg, Mississippi haunted the citizens of this country by further dashing their already weakened feeling of security. Powerful warm currents from the Gulf of Mexico race northward to embrace the menacing cold fronts from far northern climes. Their embrace begets fearful ice storms, sleet, thundersnow, extensive damage and inconvenience plus some deaths. The deadly embrace and dance of the cold fronts and Gulf moisture begets even deadlier tornadoes.
Grandchildren of the snow and ice storms, killer tornadoes sweep the southern edges of the northern blasts, wreaking havoc and death, striking terror in their hapless victims who have no clue as to whom the lethal winds will hit. Numerous rounds of the same have much of the country reeling. And all this after Katrina-like Hurricane Sandy! As if to remind the rest of the world that the U.S. does not stand alone, mudslides buried 14 homes in Zhaojiagou village in Yunnan province, China, entombing 46 people, the local county government of Zhenxiong said on its official website. That was but part of the mudslide threat triggered by snow and later by rain in hilly, southern China. Widespread Australian wildfires joined the devastating dance choreographed and driven by 100-plus-degree temperatures, scorching almost 800,000 acres, scores of homes and forcing hundreds to flee. Recent climate change cannot be blamed, for the 1871 Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire killed 2,500 people and destroyed 1.2 million acres of land.
As if one-upping the snow, ice, fires and winds of recent years, the largest fire in U.S. history, the Great Fire of 1910, burned August 21-23 in the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana, wasting three million acres and killing 87 people. Wherever we turn in life, there is eventually either wind, flood, mud, fire, snow and ice or earthquakes.
NASA’s two special satellite cameras count 138 million lightning strikes globally each year, starting most wildfires, destroying property and killing 54 Americans annually. Are you getting the feeling that we are strangers in an alien land, groping our way through the minefields, obstacle courses, dangers, setbacks, disappointments and failures of life?
Thank God, our blessing is told in Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This article originally published in the March 11, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.