Monday, February 18, 2013

Cruise Ship Disaster

I Will Praise You in the Storm

Written by Dr. Bill Bagents

I’d never make fun of the unfortunate people who were on the Carnival Triumph when an engine fire left her dead in the water. I’m glad they’re back on land, and take no joy in their misery. However, several things either perplex or impress me:

I hate the media overkill, from excessive coverage to silly exaggeration. It wasn’t, as some asserted, “the cruise from hell.” I love hyperbole as much as the next guy, but no one died. Terrorists didn’t take the ship and threaten lives. Pirates didn’t take the ship and hold people hostage for months. The ship didn’t break apart throwing thousands into the sea. I’m not saying conditions were easy, but they were far from unimaginably bad.

I hate the fact that even as I write this, just a couple of days after the ship made port, at least one suit has already been filed. I own no stock in Carnival and have no knowledge of their history, but I’m certain that representatives of the company didn’t purposefully set fire to the engine room. And once the fire happened, it’s not like they could snap their fingers and immediately move the ship back to port. Some problems don’t have easy or immediate solutions—not even in our microwave world.

I hate the fact that a bus carrying some of the newly docked passengers from Mobile to New Orleans broke down. Those poor folks didn’t need any more pain. Remind me to avoid those infamous words, “At least things can’t get any worse.” In almost every case, they most certainly can. It’s smart business to be glad that things are as well as they are.

I was greatly impressed to hear suffering passengers praise the Carnival crew for its service and dedication. I’m glad to know there are good people who make the best of bad situations. I’m glad for the good hearts of people who can recognize the efforts of others even when those efforts can’t fully change the situation. There’s nobility in making the best of a bad situation.

I was glad that I wasn’t on the ship. Had I been there, I hope 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 and Philippians 4:4-9 would have guided me. I hope I’d have remembered 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 5:16, and Matthew 7:12.

In this sin-damaged world, bad things happen. Those bad things range from the inconvenient to the stunningly tragic. This cruise ship “disaster” might rank somewhere in the middle. Every day there’s another terminal diagnosis, another death, another job loss, another divorce, and more. Thank God, that every day there’s another statement of “cancer in remission,” another birth, another person blessed with a job, and another happy wedding. Wouldn’t do to ignore the pains and dangers, but it also wouldn’t do to dwell only on the negative. It’s not exactly a quote from the Bible, but it’s certainly a biblical concept: Blessed are the balanced who know God is good all the time in every situation.