Dangers of the Deep
There is a war that has waged for millennia; it is a war that is still waging today. The conflict has never ceased, and its battles are rarely recognized. Casualties are never counted; medals never handed. The simple fact of the matter is that the battlefield itself does not possess the quintessence of a stereotypical battlefield. The combat zone is one that is daily filled with those who have come for adventure and fun. It is the scene of picturesque photos, the landscape of dreamy vacation escapes. Partitioners come in the droves to play in the great divide of this theater of war. At times, the ferocity of the conflict claims the lives of unintended victims, sympathizers of neither faction. It is the age-old campaign between the ocean’s tide and the land’s side.
Rising tides swallow land, whose swells will be pushed back into the deep again within a few hours. The back and forth ebb of the centuries-old conflict just might be one of the most beautiful wars humanity has observed. The rhythmic lullaby of crashing waves could lull just about anyone into a slumber. The beach is unarguably a beautiful place. The stereotypical dream day consists of shivering palm trees in the gentle sea’s breeze; all of course while white capped waves systematically advance onto sandy dunes. After all, what is paradise if it is not a tropical paradise? However, in this scene of beautiful tranquility, if you peel back the ocean's waves and glance deep beneath its surface, you will find a place filled with danger, home to incalculable fury.
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The ocean contains a stunning and alluring sense of mystery. Deep beneath the waves lies an alien environment that somehow still calls planet Earth home. The mysteries of the deep are at once enticing, yet elusive to the human imagination. Curiously of the unknown darkness that dwells deep under the ocean's beauty sparks our interest, and yet it's just far enough out of reach that we are rarely able to quench our thirst for answers to the mystery. The deep maintains center stage through some of literature’s great works such as Moby Dick and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The stories teach us there is a danger that accompanies the enigma of the ocean, the reality of a darkness that looms under the beautiful facade. Yet, peering out over a mesmerizing sunset, feet buried beneath the quickly cooling sand, the reality of the ocean’s hidden danger is impalpable to the imagination due to its beautiful veneer.
Once one dives through the rhythmic waves and descends to the depths, they are confronted with creatures that are almost beyond human imagination. A strange darkness calls the deep home. Creatures like the bioluminescent octopus that flourish in the indefinite night can be found deep beneath the waves. Much like a weird, living bug zapper, the strange octopod has photophores (little-emitting organs) that lure unmindful creatures to their doom. Fictional horror tales come to life in the mirky depths where the vampire squid, need I say more, skulks. The Kiwa Crab, Vigtorniella Worm, Terrible Claw Lobster, Venus Flytrap Anemone, and Anglerfish are only a handful of the strange and deadly creatures of the deep. Sure, the ocean is beautiful, but lying below its surface, in the hidden darkness of the depths, is a stage adequately reserved for the horror genre.
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And we so arrive at the point of our discussion. The ocean has more in common with sin that we care to entertain. As I have attempted to convey over the last 560 or so words, the ocean is beautiful, enticing but there is a hidden danger. The parallel with sin in this regard is quite uncanny. So often the secular world paints sinfulness or sinful activity with the eloquent brush strokes of da Vinci. Popular opinion and social norms gracefully move the brush that gives sin an appealing image. An enticing yet elusive image begins to take form. Such as, the notion that happiness can be found at the bottom of a bottle, or two. Walt-Disney magic appears to be in full-force with the idea that euphoria lies between rolled paper, housing an illicit drug, and the brain’s overloaded response to the dangerous variable. The painful reality is that the resulting drunken stupors and incognizant highs only last so long. Like Tantalus, the happiness at the bottom of the bottle is always just out of reach. The reason is simple: the beautiful paint of sin’s masquerade is shallow and only runs so deep. One gets enticed by sin’s vivid veneer and lost deep within in its eternal darkness.
Deep under the illusion of sin’s folly lies a horrific reality. Somewhere lurking in the shadows of sin’s momentary pleasure lies the terrifying claws of hell. My friend, do not fall for the lie that sin is momentary or inconsequential. Once you get past the shallow excitement that sin grants you find yourself standing on the other side of the facade, behind the veneer, amid eternal darkness. Allow me to remind you that the gates of hell are painted an incandescent neon. Much like the bioluminescent octopus, those gates glow in a dark world, enticing people to their doom.
I understand that our discussion has been heavy and in some manner convicting. So allow me to give you a reprieve at the end of our discussion. Hell is scary and sin is truly the real: danger of the deep. The mesmerizing packaging of sin oversells a product that turns out to be some passing glimmer of momentary pleasure, rooted in everlasting darkness. Yet, our discussion today is not depressing, affording no hope because there is an answer: Jesus (Colossians 1:14).
John 3:16 is one of the most popular verses in the entirety of the Bible, but please do not allow its familiarity to rob you of its beauty: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (King James Version). While on the other side of sin lies darkness, on the other side of salvation, lies eternal glory (Titus 1:2). Sure, we’ve all made mistakes. Paul is upfront about that in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (KJV). Despite the past, there is hope today; despite the depravity of our sinful world there is hope for you. Hope, grace, mercy, and love were granted more-and-more as a hammer continuously smashed the face of a jutting nail. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus have given us the opportunity of salvation (Acts 2:38). Yes, we must be real that there truly are dangers of the deep, but there is also eternal hope and glory on the other side of salvation.
I beg you today, look past the facade sin aims to paint. Peer through the shallow vestige the world in which we live in proudly flaunts. Look beyond this world and its superficial veneer. Take a second from your busy day, close your eyes, and try to gaze into the glory of heaven. Because, when you see into that great beyond, you realize the danger that lies behind sin’s guise.