Meditations by John Dean

Monday, May 19, 2014

An Artificial Reef

(Psalm 31:12 Message) They want to blot me from memory, forget me like a corpse in a grave, discard me like a broken dish in the trash.

Because many older folks are not able to contribute as much to life as they once did, this text could very well describe how some feel. It is a terrible thing when one feels ignored or talked down to as if they are children. Perhaps this is the reason one could, “feel like a living corpse, or a broken dish or even worse…blotted out of the memory of others altogether.”

It is also a terrible thing for a ‘pioneer of the past’ to end their life feeling like a burden to the very ones they sacrificed their life to raise. What an unpleasant thought.

However, as unpleasant as that thought may be, one must realize that everything in life is temporary and must come to an end…including life itself. It is wonderful to remember one’s glory days, but they too only last for a season. Believing there is an exception to that rule will invariably end up in the unfulfilled dream department.

A couple of days ago I began thinking about the ship (USS General Harry Taylor) that I had sailed to Germany on back in 1954. I actually had not thought much about that grand old ship in the last sixty years. I suppose I assumed it would always be there because it was so big and powerful…so why worry about it?

However, the more I thought about the General Harry Taylor the more I wanted to find out exactly what happened to it. To my surprise I discovered that the General was lying on the bottom of the ocean floor off the coast of Florida.

After spending several years in cold storage it had become a rust bucket.
Therefore the powers that be decided the glory days of the ship had passed and therefore it was no longer useful to the military. It had long been replaced by bigger and better equipped ships.

Even though I had not been on that ship for more than sixty years, I felt heart sick when I learned what had happened to it. I thought to myself, have I actually lived long enough for such an important part of my history to become an artificial reef?

There are probably times when many older folks also feel like an artificial reef.Just because they are no longer as productive as they once were many feel they have lost their value.

However, that is not true for either the General Harry Taylor or for older folks. The General is not sailing the seas transporting military personnel (like myself) as it once did, however it has become useful in another way. It has become a quiet sanctuary on the bottom of the sea for sea life as well as providing a challenge for inquisitive deep sea divers.

The same is true with older folks…they may not be facing the challenges of life in the same way they once did, however, they too have become useful in another way. Passing the baton of their wisdom and experiences in life are priceless.

Even though some may feel that our text fits their particular situation they should be encouraged that it is only talking about a minority of people and not about the majority.

The fact is, God has not forsaken the hurting or the rejected. He is simply challenging the rest of us (through this scripture) to be His ‘hands extended’ as a comforter and healer.

The point of this Meditation is to help open our eyes to a ministry of encouragement to those who feel like an ‘Artificial Reef’.

Thank You for the wonderful opportunity to be an encourager. Our
desire is to help those who have lost their hope to regain it. Thank You Lord for encouraging us that if we are faithful to You the effect of our lives should live on through others.

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