Netflix recently featured a documentary called Blackfish. It followed the story of a family of orca whales forced into captivity. Called on to perform at major theme parks, scientists claim these whales suffer psychosis in the small confines in which they’re kept. Over the course of its life, one particular whale attacked many of its trainers—even claiming some of their lives.
One close call came not long ago. This whale was doing a performance that would be considered routine. When out of nowhere, with an unsuspecting audience, the whale grabbed the foot of her trainer dragging him straight to the bottom of the 40-foot-pool. The whale brought the man back to the surface, only to re-submerge him seconds later. Holding him strongly by the foot, she stayed at the bottom of the pool, torturing him. Minutes felt like hours. Each time they surfaced, the trainer would gently rub the top of the whale’s head while slowly filling his lungs for the next plunge. He spoke softly and calmly, even as life drained from him. He knew that any sign of aggression would lead to his imminent death.
Finally the whale let go. A safety net had been thrown and the trainer had a fraction of a second to dart over to safety. Even then, the whale swam a quick circle and attempted to finish the man off. This day, the man made it.
It is a disturbing video to watch. Can you imagine what went through this man’s heart and mind? His life flashing past his eyes, knowing it could be his last moments. He had choices he had to make.
Yet, he was prepared for this. He was in a highly emotional situation, but what saved him was being settled in the truths of how whales react. He certainly didn’t respond through the lens of how he felt, but by what he was taught years prior, before he stepped foot into the pool. In this case, head knowledge saved his life.
Oftentimes in our Christian experience, we tend to focus so much on what we feel in regards to making major life decisions and disregard the importance of establishing truth in our hearts from His word. Don’t get me wrong, God is alive and certainly works through our emotions. But we must be careful not to rely upon them when making decisions.
Anger, sadness, happiness and passion are all fleeting minute from minute. The only thing we can truly trust is His word—especially in trying moments of our lives. We are not to live our lives in fear but we must prepare for future decisions before we get in over our heads.
Where are you today? You may feel like your decisions have you viewing life from the bottom of a pool, dreaming of your next breath. Grace is there! God is faithful even when we are faithless. He is in the business of throwing out lifesavers, and has an unlimited capacity to forgive. But once you come up, can I suggest something?
Decide in that very moment, “From here on out, my decisions will be grounded solely in His word.” I promise it will amaze you. That pool will get shallower and shallower. His truth will never fail you. It’s never too late. Let us live lives known for making good choices. And when we enter into those pearly gates, we can do it with confidence that the life we have left behind is one He will be proud of.