We recently sailed out of Miami on the NCL Escape. Our trip was a beautiful gift from our daughter and son-in-law. Away from the pressures of ministry and a hectic schedule, there was time to reflect on my advancing years and issues of life. There were over 4,000 passengers on board the ship. When the crew and entertainers are added to that number, the count soars to over 6,000. Many of the guests sailing out on the Escape seemed to be seeking to do just that – ‘escape’.
Wanting to leave behind such things as dysfunctional relationships, job and career disappointments, family crises, and a host of other troubles, they appeared to be making a vain attempt to distance themselves from their problems.
By the hundreds, people descended on the buffet lines and restaurants, seemingly intent on gorging in an almost endless feeding frenzy in an attempt to forget things left behind. Alcoholic beverages were consumed to a startling degree – many seemed to have a glass in their hand from morning until they collapsed at night. The ringing bells, horns, and other noise of the casinos drew people like a moth to a flame; disillusioned, they hoped to win something there to numb their inner pain from life’s losses. Raucous entertainment, thumping drum beats, blaring musical instruments coursed through speakers turned to the maximum volume; with the rhythmic vibrations, they sought to anesthetize the mind.
The common theme for so many is: Escape – Escape – Escape – Escape – Escape!
Hear a great eternal truth from God’s word. If we reject God, we shall not escape. “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3, ESV). The cruise ship Escape will soon return to our port of departure. The troubles that were left behind will be there waiting. If anything, they will have increased in intensity. Until we make peace with God, there is no escape. “Where shall I go from your Spirit, or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:8-10, ESV).
But, there is a true path of escape from the cares of this life. Jesus provided words of direction for those who are troubled, bruised by the world, or burdened down with guilt. He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
~ Brother Roy