Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
God the Son, Jesus Christ, came to us on Christmas. God loves us so much, He became human to reach us, to teach us, to save us from our sins, to defeat death so that we could too. The miracle of Christmas is easier to appreciate during Advent because the reminders are everywhere. We see Him in Nativity scenes and decorations. We hear about His glory in Christmas music at church and on the radio. But would it be so easy to see or hear Him… while lost at sea… for 49 days?
An Indonesian teenager, Aldi Novel Adilang, worked this past summer on a floating fishing trap near the island of Sulawesi. The 19-year-old’s job was to attract fish by maintaining the lights on an anchored, wooden hut. Then one day in mid-July, a storm snapped the ropes. Aldi floated away. He had no paddle. No one knew where he was. He didn’t either.
His food ran out after a week. To survive, he caught and cooked fish using the wood from his tiny hut. When it didn’t rain, “I had to soak my clothes in the sea, then I squeezed and drank the water,” he said. Some ships actually passed close by. They never saw him. He tried using his hand-held radio, but no one heard his pleas for help.
Aldi was losing hope. He cried often. He thought about jumping into the ocean to end the suffering. That’s when he remembered his parents’ advice for handling tough times. Pray. “I thought I will never meet my parents again, so I just prayed every day,” he said. He also had a Bible on board. It gave him hope.
On the 49th day, one of Aldi’s radio signals was picked up by a Panamanian tanker. He was 1,200 miles from home. Video of his rescue can be seen online. After his limp body was pulled onboard, he briefly looked up, put both hands together, and slumped over in complete exhaustion.
Aldi’s faith has inspired me to think about God’s presence in my life more often, not just when I’m sipping eggnog in December.
If you’re “lost at sea” right now with pain, grief, worry, or fear… remember God’s constant love for you. We can always go to Him in prayer. His Word is always there in the Bible. He reached out to us that Christmas morning. His hand is still there. When you feel lost, remember that you’ve already been found.