Story: there is hope when all appears hopeless

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 19, 2011

On May 23, 1939, the USS Squalus was just beginning a test dive in the Atlantic, not far from Portsmouth, N.H.

The Navy submarine carried a crew of 59 – five officers, 51 enlisted men and three civilian inspectors. On that day, their test was to complete an emergency dive because once under water, it was difficult for enemy aircraft to locate a submarine.

At 8:35 a.m., the order was issued to prepare to dive. However, just after she submerged, the engine room began to flood. Somehow the main induction valve, a large opening that brought air to the engines on the surface, had opened.

The submarines after compartments quickly filled with water, drowning 25 men there. The USS Squalus settled to the bottom where the water was 243 feet deep and a few degrees above freezing. In the forward compartments, sealed by watertight doors, 33 men remained alive.

Rockets were fired from the sub to the surface from time to time. After four hours and the sixth rocket was launched, a sister sub saw the smoke.  As soon as possible, divers descended.

Most of the 33 survivors were wet and increasingly cold. By 2 p.m., the air was decreasing. Toxic carbon dioxide made the men drowsy. The divers walked about on the hull of the sunken sub, trying to find some signs of life inside. Two other ships arrived, and the men in the Squalus could hear their propellers.

Listening intently, the divers recognized the dots and dashes of the Morse code, tapped inside the hull, spelling four words, “Is There Any Hope?” Never before had survivors of a submarine sinking ever been saved from such a depth.

Even though they knew ships were overhead, the time on the bottom must have been terrible. Those men desperately wanted an answer to their question, realizing they were doomed. They could do nothing to save themselves.

Their only hope depended on whether someone would come down from above and rescue them. Thirty-three men of the 59-man crew were rescued in the first-ever underwater rescue.

Many people are like those men aboard the USS Squalus, maybe even you. Life looks hopeless. You realize you are living in the depths of sin and you can do nothing to save yourself.

But the Good News is hope is not far away from any one of us. Jesus came down from heaven and was born into the world to live among us. He came to save sinners through His death and resurrection.

No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you can be saved by grace through faith in Christ.  “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be save” (Romans 10:9 NKJ).

Is there any hope? As long as you have breath, Jesus is just a prayer away.