On Aug. 12 in the late summer of 2000, a terrifying tragedy played out at the bottom of the Barents Sea (located north of Norway and Russia in the Arctic Ocean).

After a series of explosions, a giant Russian nuclear powered submarine called the K-141 KURSK drifted to the bottom of the sea. Most of the 118 sailors on board were instantly killed. However, tapping noises detected in the icy waters and, later, a note in the pocket of Lieutenant Kolesnikov, revealed that at least 23 men remained alive after the initial explosions.

These sailors were trapped aboard with little hope and no means of communication to the outside world. It is almost unbearable to think about what these men were going through. Yet, think about this for a moment.

Imagine the overwhelming joy those men would have felt if they heard a voice from the outside through radio transmission saying, “It’s going to be all right. I know you’re down there and I know what you’re going through. Don’t worry! I’m going to try to save you.

"I’ve sent someone down to help you and to get you. Listen to what he says, follow his instructions and you will live.”

Imagine the jubilant cheering that would have followed that message!

Some of your friends and peers will try to convince you that our universe is just like that submarine.

They will try to convince you that we live in a closed system called the universe and we are drifting aimlessly through space without any meaning, purpose or ultimate destination.

They will try to tell you that there is no voice out there to speak to us, comfort us, help us or guide us. They will try to convince you that there is no hope for life outside this system. They will claim that we are on our own and our few days in this world is all we’ve got.

Don’t be deceived. God is and He has spoken. There is a voice from outside this system and that voice has said, “It’s going to be all right. I know you’re down there and I know what you are going through. Don’t worry! I am going to try to save you. I’ve sent someone down to help you and to get you. Listen to what He says, follow His instructions and you will live.”

That someone is Jesus Christ and there should be great rejoicing because of that message.

That very voice may be calling you today to become a Christian or to recommit your life to Him. If that is the case, please don’t ignore this voice. Listen to what He says, follow His instructions and you will find forgiveness for the past, an abundant life in the present, and hope for the future.

"As has just been said: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …" (Hebrews 3:13)

TODAY’S PRAYER

I may never see tomorrow; there’s no written guarantee,

And the things that happened yesterday belong to history,

I cannot predict the future, I cannot change the past,

I have just the present moment, I must treat it as my last,

I must use this moment wisely for it soon will pass away,

And be lost to me forever as part of yesterday,

I must exercise compassion, help the fallen to their feet,

Be a friend unto the friendless, make an empty life complete,

The unkind things I do today may never be undone,

And friendships that I fail to win may nevermore be won,

I may not have another chance on bended knee to pray,

I thank you God with humble heart for giving me this day.

— Author Unknown

Russ Whitten is a ministry leader for Celebrate Recovery of Destin (which meets every Monday evening at 6:45 p.m. at Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive, Destin) and preaches every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. at the Henderson Beach State Park Worship Service — #destinbeachworship — and then preaches at 1 p.m. at The Downtown Church, meeting at Enlightened Studios, 144 Miracle Strip Parkway SE in Fort Walton Beach. He can be reached at russwhitten@gmail.com.