Laura Hillenbrand wrote a true story called Unbroken. It’s a WWII story of extreme reliance and heroism. In one scene, three men are floating in the middle of the Pacific ocean, after having crashed their plane. It’s a wonder that they had survived in the first place. Clinging to two small rafts, they begin to drift in the ocean, bleeding from the crash and surrounded by circling sharks, which infested the waters. Right away, Louis begins to inventory the safety rations in the raft. Among a few other things, he finds some Hershey chocolate bars. These were special bars made for soldiers during the war, if anything life threatening should ever happen to them. The bars were very high in calories, bitter, wrapped in wax, and would not melt. The instructions were for each man to break off two pieces per day and eat them. If they followed the instructions, then they could survive for many days, eating just chocolate.
Since Louis was in charge, he gave the other men instructions about the chocolate bars, to which they agreed. They would wait to start eating the bars until the next day, and even then, they’d only eat a little piece.
When the sun rose the next day, after a night of warding off sharks in the Pacific and caring for the wounded in his raft, Louis gets out the food rations. Astonished, the rations are gone. He frantically searches, but cannot find them. Then he looks at one of his comrades, Mac. As it turns out, Mac had eaten all of the chocolate during the night. Now, they were completely out.
Little did Mac know that they would be adrift at sea for 46 days.
So often, we want to know why God allows certain things to happen in our lives. We want to know why God is slow on answering our prayers—if he does at all. We don’t understand his ways and his rules. We find him unfair. After all, we, like Mac, are hungry. We think we know what’s best for us, so we do what is right in our own eyes.
And you can’t blame a guy like Mac, either. For all he knew, they would be rescued the next day. Especially after the trauma of warfare and of a plane crash in the middle of the Pacific—not to mention the sharks—what harm would eating chocolate do? It seemed like a reasonable thing to do.
But the commander knows best. He is able to see the bigger picture, the contingencies and complexities of it all. How much more does God see! He is the Commander of our souls, who has perfect sight. God sees it all. Not only does he know what’s best for us, but also he knows when. And, you’ve got to trust that God will give you enough to sustain you for the day, usually no more.
As you drift, trust in your Commander. His plan is always the best, for he knows every wave, shark, and sleepless night that you’ll endure. He will give you one piece of grace at a time, and it will be sweet.
He will sustain your soul, whether in life or in death.
© Samuel Kee, 2012