ONE hundred and one years ago, an unsinkable ship, on its maiden voyage… sank! On 14th April, 1912, the s.s. Titanic was sailing quietly in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland. Passengers and crew noticed small chunks of ice floating in the water near the ship. But it was “nothing to worry about”. At 11:40 p.m. a slight nudge was felt by all. But it was dismissed as “nothing”, after all this ship was brand new and unsinkable. The Titanic could easily take care of herself among the tiny icebergs—or so they thought. At 2:20 a.m., on April 15, the Titanic sunk.
What caused the Titanic to sink? It was not the small icebergs seen above the water but two unseen but critical realities. The first was the huge danger lurking under the water line…unseen! The second was a faulty belief system among the passengers, crew and manufacturers of the vessel: that the big boat was unsinkable. People’s outward behaviour reveals what is underneath. Many people are obsessed with appearance and performance. In their dressing, some expose parts of their bodies that were designed to be treated with modesty. They are crying for attention and may not even know it. Hair styles, dieting, loss of interest in appearance, intense competitiveness in sports and academics, craving for attention at work and home all point to active forces underneath the waterline. What recent worrying changes have you observed in your children, your friends or yourself? How have you interpreted your observations or reacted to them? Have you reacted with shame, pride, frustration, or gratification? Do you know people who bring out the worst in you? This is probably a sign that the worst does reside in you—under the waterline.
In his book “Courageous Parenting”, Kevin Huggins identifies three forces beneath the waterline: (i.) Disappointment, (ii.) Basic Beliefs and (iii.) Guiding Strategies. He identifies lack of unfailing love, significance and security as major factors that lead to disappointment. What a man desires is unfailing love (Proverbs 19:22) and a lot of people claim to be loyal and loving, but when you look for them you can’t find even one (Proverbs 20:6). People of all ages long for unfailing love. In an attempt to find it, many awaken appetites of the body that are best left asleep. Most appetites are natural such as hunger, thirst, and sex. Others are acquired such as cravings for chocolate, drugs, alcohol, smoking, exercise, and gambling. Although not all appetites are wrong, one must be careful which ones one cultivates, for once awakened, there may be great difficulty returning them to dormancy. Wrong timing in the awakening of certain appetites is all it takes to ruin a life.
In the area of feeling significant, we all want to feel that what we do matters to others. Relationships within the family and among colleagues suffer when one or more parties feel unappreciated or insignificant. If I gave you a 100 page document to type, and after proof-reading it, shredded it and deleted it from your hard disk and then asked you to retype it, you would be very frustrated and discouraged, even though I was paying you to do the work. Why? Because you would feel that your work had no value.
In addition to desiring significance, we also desire security in our relationships. We refrain from opening up to the people we feel unsafe with. There are no truly secure human relationships. God is our only true security. In Proverbs 18:10, the bible teaches that “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe”. NASU
When people feel unloved, insignificant and insecure, they become disappointed. Multiple disappointments can lead to a very discouraged individual. Such individuals may feel betrayed by parents, peers or friends and start to believe that no one cares or appreciates them. With time they think that they are insignificant even to God. This resulting faulty belief system leads to two main coping/survival strategies: (i.) rejection of others—including God to meet one’s needs and (ii.) self-protection/insulation against pain. While the individual may not necessarily articulate these words, his or her behaviour spells it out. The pain relief options available to many include the awakening of the appetites we referred to earlier. While such strategies give temporary relief, in the end the situation gets compounded.
Navigator workers in high schools, on campuses, in churches, in the business community and in rural Kenya meet these kinds of people daily. This is part of our harvest field. No amount of counselling will re-align them permanently, but a deep connection with Jesus will do it. We have been asked to run our race in such a way as to win (1 Corinthians 9:24). Allowing the word of God to penetrate deeply to the level of thoughts and intentions of the heart, to do its cleansing work , seems to dismantle years of pain and besetting habits giving individuals new life and hope. We have witnessed marriages restored as each individual focuses on playing their God-assigned part without nagging their spouse to play theirs. As each individual makes peace with God, fresh sprouts can be detected in the relationship. Thank you for supporting our staff who work tirelessly to connect or re-connect people with God and then nurture them to maturity. Mike Treneer, our International President once said: “The huge doors of God’s eternal purposes swing on the tiny hinges of the lives of ordinary people like you and I”. We must play our part and play it well.