I had marked Jonathan Martin’s book How to Survive a Shipwreck as one to read for months before I actually did. Martin writes as a prophetic poet. At times it seems he speaks another language entirely. One you can recognize but often don’t know how to speak. The transparency and vulnerability in which he tells his journey invites all of us to seek God in an authentic way. Martin walks the reader through how to journey with God through the heartbreaking seasons in your life.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
The waters that drown are the waters that save.
There is no going back down the birth canal when the Spirit of life is pushing you forward, despite yourself.
There is nothing quite so scary as the Holy Ghost, because we intuitively know that to make room for this Spirit is to make room for our own upending.
On the other side of the storm that tears you to pieces is a capacity to love without doubt, to live without fear, to be something infinitely more powerful than the man or woman you were before it happened.
Whatever is death for the ego is liberation for the soul.
The truth is, the extent to which we experience death to self is the extent to which we will experience resurrection.
The God who sustains all created things with love sustains you. The God who created the world not to be exploited, dominated, or needed, but to love and to enjoy without clinging, is awake in your belly. And so in you is the capacity to love and to live without needing the world to work out a certain way in order for you to be okay. Your life, your existence, is contingent on that Spirit. But it is not contingent on anyone else, or anything else.
After the shipwreck, you may have little left to hold on to. And yet you must find a reason to hold on. This is much more difficult than it sounds, because surviving the shipwreck, in general, has much more to do with letting go than it does with holding on.
You can’t even cling to the God you knew, only to the God you can know now.
Deep living comes out of deep healing, which requires us to go deeply into our pain, mistakes, and failures to find the God who meets us there at the bottom.
But I would encourage you, softly and gently, to consider carefully anything in your life that is half-dead—existing on a ventilator. And to at least be open to the possibility that it could be time to unplug the ventilator. Not as an act of cowardice or an act of resignation, but as an act of bold, courageous faith—putting all your weight down on the hope of resurrection. What looks like resignation may be the ultimate act of faith, the supreme expression of trust. And what you are keeping on life support may be exactly the thing that is keeping you from the wonder and terror of new life.
When Jesus comes to town, the blind are able to see. But the converse is also true: Those who think they see the world clearly—those who have too much confidence in their own discernment—are blinded when Jesus comes around. The one who brings sight to the blind brings blindness to those who thought they could see.
It is possible to fail, and not have our faith fail us. It is possible to lose our lives, and not lose our souls.