In the summer of 2013 a cargo ship from the Bahamas called the MOL Comfort encountered a nasty storm off the coast of Yemen. The ship suffered cracks to the midsection as a result of the tempest and eventually broke in two. All 26 members of the crew were rescued, but the ship and all of its freight was lost.
A recovery company was charged with the salvaging effort, as over 4500 containers remained on board the drifting portions of the ship. When the salvage team arrived to begin the recovery process, the the stern of the wreckage began to take on too much water and sank. Shortly there after, the bow caught fire, and the conflagration consumed the entire remaining half of the ship, destroying what had remained to be salvaged. Those onsite reported literally thousands of containers floating just below the surface, drifting away, never to be recovered.
So why did the MOL Comfort sink? It was one of twelve ships built from a similar design, from the same shipyard. From 2008-2013 it had sailed the globe, encountering a wide range of weather conditions. Why did this ship break down, at this particular time?
Unfortunately, no one knows for certain, the cause of the disaster. However, the Mitsubishi company that designed and constructed the MOL Comfort was sued for 60 Billion Yen (nearly 600 million US dollars). The evidence presented to substantiate this claim were “reportedly on the grounds that the accident and consequent loss of ship and cargo was caused by a design flaw in the freighter” (source). The hull of the MOL Comfort lacked integrity.
Think about that… a small design flaw, led to hundreds of millions of dollars in loss! Regardless of the fact that you couldn’t see the flaw, it lacked integrity. and the result was disaster.
Social media feeds and new reports are inundated with stories of men and women who have fallen from the heights of influence and celebrity because of major character and moral flaws. These people allowed fractures in their hull to derail them. Ever time, you can trace these fractures back to a lack of integrity. These stories come with such predictable regularity, that they have almost completely lost their impact. Little flaws however seemingly innocent and innocuous are the indicators of a lack of integrity, that lead to catastrophe
What are the small flaws, you and I allow to exist untended in our lives? Like the MOL Comfort, we too often feel that because we have navigated the seas of life safely so far, our design flaws can remain hidden in the hulls of our souls, out of sight and out of mind.
Are you certain that the design flaws in your life can withstand every unseen, unanticipated storm that may come your way in the days, weeks and years ahead? Perhaps like me, you often convince yourself that devastating storms couldn’t possibly knock you off course. Jesus warns us in John 16:33 that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So why take the risk, leaving our flaws unaddressed and hidden.
The question to ask, is how can we begin to expose and address these flaws so that we can mitigate the danger to which they leave us so vulnerable? Just as the only one who would know the intended design and structure of the MOL Comfort would have been the designers and creators that built the ship, we must look to the author and architect of our lives in order to adequately address even the smallest of flaws. In the book of Hebrews we read, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
The best prophylactic measure to take to fortify our lives and strengthen our weakness is spending time with our creator, reading His word and resting in His presence. His word will penetrate us like a sword if we let it, and it will restore and repair our flaws like balm on a wound.
As we wrap up this post, consider these verses on integrity from scripture.
But, as for me, I will walk in my integrity – Psalm 26:11
But you have held me up because of my integrity – Psalm 41:12
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely – Proverbs 10:9
The integrity of the upright guides them – Proverbs 11:3
Why wait for the storm?
Lets commit to reading God’s word every day, fortifying our hearts and living in step with the designer of our lives. Let commit to doing whatever it takes to walk in integrity.