Many have been mesmerized by the news of the past week regarding efforts to dislodge the huge cargo ship, the Ever Given, from its stranded position in the Suez Canal. If you’ve followed the story, you know that dislodging the ship, which spans four football fields and weighs two hundred thousand tons, was no small feat. Salvage crews relied on a fleet of powerful tugboats, a host of large-capacity dredgers, and Mother Nature’s tide cycle to push and pull the massive vessel away from the sandbar upon which it had run aground so that the canal could be made passable for the more than 300 other cargo ships that had been waiting to go through that passageway from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.
No doubt the story garnered attention because of its worldwide economic impact, which reportedly was costing the canal authorities $15 billion per day, not to mention the disruption to other global commercial interests that rely on shipping operations. The ship’s plight created a ripple effect that we will surely be dealing with for some time to come. Consider it one of those things no one knows about or even thinks about it until calamity strikes and we are made aware of how brittle and tenuous so much of what we take for granted in life can be, and how frail we feel when it becomes apparent that correcting the situation will be costly and time-consuming. But what other options are there?
As I followed the story, several things came to mind. I thought about the reality of human error and how it shows up at the worst possible times. Granted, there were other factors in play for the Ever Given, primarily the high winds from the normal sandstorms that occur in that region of the world. Still, someone in the driver’s seat was asleep at the switch and because of it the giant vessel ran aground. Moreover, I thought about the helplessness that came over everyone responsible for freeing the ship from its lodged position and how that helplessness led them to consider all available resources, both conventional and unconventional. Lastly, I thought about how though the challenge was eventually met, the aftermath is still being felt and will be for some time.
As we move through Holy Week and into the season of Easter, the parallels between the Easter story and the plight of the Ever Given are striking. We have too often found ourselves in stuck places in life, where though we seek to pin the blame on everything and everyone else, the ultimate responsibility lies at our own doorstep. We were asleep at the switch or even worse, we knew what we were doing and refused to consider the consequences. Once we became aware of our helplessness to change our situation, anxiety set in, causing us to consider outside measures to do for us what we came to realize we wouldn’t be able to do for ourselves. And that is where the Good News of Easter comes into play. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is able to dislodge us from the jams in which we’ve found ourselves. Through our faith in the Risen Jesus, God moves in our circumstances to make a way where we were convinced a way was not possible. And the consequences of His Easter victory in our lives continues to do so, despite our tendency to land ourselves in similar positions time and again.
So, if you’re feeling stuck this day, know there is hope. Because Jesus lives, we can truly face tomorrow, but not in or by our own power. We can only face tomorrow when Jesus lives in each of us.
“In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered me by setting me free” (Psalm 118:5).