For three days, off the coast of a desolate Russian peninsula called Kamchatka, seven crew members of a small Russian AS-28 mini submarine huddled together and hung on for life. Their vessel, running dangerously short on oxygen, was literally strapped to the Pacific Ocean floor some 600 feet below the surface.
The vessel got tangled up in fishing nets and a cable from the Russian coastal monitoring system. Crew members moved into a single compartment of the 44-foot long, miniature sub and minimized their movements to conserve oxygen. 40-degree temperatures and buildup of noxious gas inside the submarine made them drowsy and actually enabled them to conserve energy and air.
Several years ago, a similar incident took place with a Russian sub. In August 2000 it was a nuclear submarine called the Kursk. It went down in the Barents Sea and all 118 crewmen on board died. Ironically, those men probably could’ve been saved. But Russian leaders refused all offers of help fearing the compromising of military secrets and a perception of national weakness. Numerous proposals of international help were refused until all hope had been virtually exhausted. By then it was too late.
This time, Russia moved quickly to ask for help. Calling upon the United States and the British, among others, every effort was made to save the seven submariners trapped on the bottom of the ocean floor. Rescue teams were immediately dispatched with state-of-the-art equipment, a cash-strapped Russian navy apparently couldn’t afford, for such deep sea rescue operations.
A British remote-controlled submarine was able to cut away the cable and the fishing nets that had ensnared the Russian mini-sub, allowing it to surface. All seven crew members crawled out of the hatch on Sunday, August 7, weak but very relieved to be back on the surface again. Rescuers said they barely had six hours of oxygen left when the sub surfaced.
Two Russian submarines. Two radically different results: one tragic, one triumphant. Why? This time the Russian government wasn’t afraid to ask for help.
Are you trapped today because you’re afraid to ask for help? Like a student in a school classroom afraid to raise their hand and ask the question everyone else needs answered because they fear what others will say or think? If you don’t ask for help, you won’t get it. What’s worse, the results can be tragic.
The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Billy Graham said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayers which no one ever bothered to ask.”
You know what’s worse than being trapped on the ocean floor in a completely dark, terrifyingly cold submarine thinking you’re about to die?
Being afraid to ask God for help.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
[Thanks to all of you who came and participated in our National Day of Prayer Rally last night. It was a tremendous experience. Keep praying for revival in America!]
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.