(The Courting Or Engaged Series – Batch 3)
Anyone that really knows me, knows that I am quite the dreamer. Sometimes, to the irritation of others, I love dreaming and envisioning and imagining and planning, even for things that may be way in the future or which are not certain to happen.
I also love event planning, family life and am quite the romantic. I therefore often think about weddings, godly relationships, marriage, courting, engagements and all of that fun stuff, which has been long in coming for me but which I remain hopeful, I will one day experience.
In this regard, for some time now, I’ve been wondering to myself, if Mr. Right were to finally arrive and one day propose, where would I want to take our engagement photos, provided our budget allowed it?
For fun, I did some online research by casually browsing a few pictures of places but nothing tickled my fancy. Although I lived in a country with two islands, nothing I saw excited me or seemed right for the vision I had in my head.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m not the run-of-the-mill, average, boring sort of person. I like to be different. If everybody’s photos look a certain way therefore (and I had seen countless that seemed too cookie-cutter for me), I tend to want to do something different. I love to be unique, to think outside of the box and aim to do everything I’m a part of to the highest standard with excellence, class and sophistication. Yet, although there were many beautiful spots, nothing I saw seemed suitable as a place to shoot my engagement pictures.
I wanted something outside of the norm of what I had often seen pass for engagement pictures. In my head, I envisioned something regal, classy and somewhat unconventional, while oozing with romance and old school grandeur. I wanted something that would set the perfect ambience for the nuptials and that would complement my vision for my one-day future wedding.
Disappointed in my search results, I considered the possibility that my future fiance and I might have to travel to another nearby country to take our shots, although I knew that cost would be an unwelcome factor.
Fortunately for me though, I comforted myself in the fact that I had lots of time to sort that all out. The issue was not pressing, as I had not even begun to court anyone and so I put the issue to the back-burner of my mind. When the time came, whenever that was, the Lord would provide (although I was prepared to shoot the shots in another nearby country if need be).
On 12th May, 2022 though, I heard my parents chuckling at a show, in which a popular lady in my country was being interviewed. They were in their room and so, out of curiosity, I stopped what I was doing and turned on the television in the living room, to watch the interview.
I only watched for a few minutes, as the show was nearing the end when the television was put on. Noting that the interviewer was in a different location than the norm and finding the piece I viewed to be interesting, I decided that I would watch the entire thing later that night, after I was finished working on something on the computer. About five hours later, I kept my word. Instead of going to sleep, I put on the television at about 2.00 a.m. and turned back to the segment which had aired earlier, at 8.00 p.m.
Within the first minute or so, I was blown away by what I saw. The interviewer announced that she was airing the show from the island where I lived and not the larger of the two islands where she usually conducted her interviews. I had realized that the venue was different but had not known that the show was being aired on the island where I resided.
Through the use of drones, after she made the announcement, the cameras swept and surveyed the outdoor surroundings and I could not believe my eyes. It was breathtakingly beautiful! I had never seen this place before and wasn’t sure that many people knew it even existed. Yet, it was right in my home island!
When I saw it, I absolutely fell in love with it and it wasn’t long before I began to envision it as a possible venue for my one-day engagement photos. The name of the place was called Xxxxx Carpathia (I have omitted the first word for confidentiality reasons) and it was the perfect place for exactly what I had conjured up in my head.
I became excited. I felt like my dream had come to life! After looking the place up online, being curious as to the meaning of the word ‘Carpathia’, today, I proceeded to do some online research.
What I found, endeared the venue to me even more. For, it took on for me, a spiritual significance and I felt even more certain, that once the Lord provided me with a spouse and the place was available to the public and affordable and it was within His will, THIS was where I wanted my pictures to be taken. It may never happen and I may end up going elsewhere or not even taking engagement shots or ever getting married but THIS was ideally what I wanted.
While I still don’t know the meaning of the word ‘Carpathia’ or the motivation behind the place being given the name, my research revealed that Carpathia was also the name of the British passenger liner which had received a distress call from the now infamous Titanic ship, that had hit an iceberg and sunk.
At that time, hope was desperately needed and so the Carpathia had swung into action, heading in its direction. Unfortunately though, it was three hours away and so when it arrived, the ship had already sunk, many persons having sadly frozen to death in the water or drowned. However, there was still reason to rejoice, as the crew on the Carpathia were able to successfully lift up into the ship and thereby rescue, 705 people, who were on lifeboats.
This true story of the Carpathia ship, how it swung into action when it heard the ship’s distress call and saved and rescued scores of people, reminds me of what Jesus Christ did for humanity, for you and for me.
In my own case, the name ‘Carpathia’ now takes on valuable significance, as it reminds me of how Jesus saved me and lifted me up from the miry clay of sin. It reminds me of how he delivered me when I was in trouble and brought me up from dangerous and destructive paths. It reminds me of those times when, through my own disobedience, I found myself in situations where I felt cold, vulnerable, afraid, weak, tired and overwhelmed and how in his mercy, he reached down to me and rescued me. Alas, it reminds me of the times when, even as a Christian, nobody else could help me and I seemed like a hopeless goner for sure. Yet, he could and he did. While people expected me to sink beneath the mire of my circumstance, Jesus showed up, right on time and kept me afloat. They couldn’t see him operating but I was being upheld with the right hand of his righteousness.
His comforting words to me, among many others over the years were: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of MY righteousness.”
The Lord Jesus is the God of REDEMPTION and he is the God of RESTORATION. He came to earth to save mankind from destruction, as they were sinking deep in sin, spiritually and their souls destined for damnation. Like the Carpathia, he reached out in love and offered to lift up and deliver all those who believe on him by faith, out of danger, thereby saving their wretched souls from hell.
For me, Carpathia therefore represents and is a symbol of rescue and hope. It reminds me of how Jesus, the Lord of hope, came to rescue us from our sin and eternal damnation and how he helps those who put their trust in him, no matter what adversity they may be going through.
As the Saviour of the world, he has saved many from eternal destruction and still remains available today, to lift all who will call upon him, from danger. Romans 10:13 states, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” When the people on the Titanic realized that they were in danger and that sinking was inevitable, they sent out a distress call to the Carpathia.
Similarly, to get Jesus’ help, lost and dying souls must put out a distress call. If they don’t call upon his name, he will not come to their rescue. They must humble themselves and realize that they are in danger of being eternally lost and that they are in dire need of a Saviour. They must put out a distress call to the Lord Jesus, to recover them, asking for his help and inviting him into their lives and heart, to deliver them from sin’s drowning hold.
Hebrews 2:10 states that he (Jesus) is the Captain of our salvation and so, we must stop fighting against the waves of life in our own strength, realize that we are powerless to prevent ourselves from sinking beneath its tumultous tide and trust Jesus Christ our Lord, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Restorer, our Saviour, to do for us, what we cannot do for ourselves.
For those who allow him, he lifts them up powerfully out of sin and destruction and clothes them in his perfect righteousness. Once they believe on him and invite him into their situation as Lord, he takes the reins of their lives and steers them in the right direction.
In this sea of life, we are helpless victims, destined for hell. Our only hope of survival spiritually, is in the Lord Jesus. Acts 4:2 tells us clearly of Jesus, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
In Psalm 40:2-4, the Psalmist, in recounting his own experience with the Lord and how he had rescued him from destruction, stated:
- “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust…”
What the Carpathia ship was able to achieve on those waters and what Jesus has done and remains available to do for the soul of every human being spiritually, is reflected perfectly in the words of two popular hymns. By reason of the Titanic story, these resonate on my heart, in terms of my own life story.
The first hymn, called ‘LOVE LIFTED ME’, begins:
- I was sinking deep in sin
- Far from the peaceful shore
- Very deeply stained within,
- Sinking to rise no more.
- But the master of the sea,
- Heard my despairing cry
- From the waters lifted me,
- Now safe, am I.
- Love lifted me, love lifted me.
- When nothing else could help,
- love lifted me, hallelujah!
- Love lifted me, Love lifted me
- When nothing else could help,
- Love lifted me!
The second hymn, called ‘RESCUE THE PERISHING’, goes:
- Rescue the perishing,
- Care for the dying,
- Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
- Weep o’er the erring one,
- lift up the fallen,
- Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.
- Rescue the perishing,
- Care for the dying;
- Jesus is merciful,
- Jesus will save.
- Though they are slighting Him,
- Still He is waiting,
- Waiting the penitent child to receive;
- Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
- He will forgive if they only believe.
- Down in the human heart,
- Crushed by the tempter,
- Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
- Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
- Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
- Rescue the perishing,
- Duty demands it;
- Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
- Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
- Tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died.
(Written on 13th May, 2022)