The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 4/18

Posted on | April 18, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 4/18

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:97–112

The Message in the Bottle

The entrance of your words gives light. (Psalm 119:130 NKJV)


Once upon a time there was an island inhabited by descendants of the survivors of a shipwreck that had happened long, long ago. Few people could remember the details of the disaster, and fewer still knew about the original home of their ancestors who had been on that fateful ship. Almost no one could even imagine other peoples living in other places across the sea. Their concept of reality was limited as to the north, south, east and west, by the shores of their island home. They lived by a simple creed: “This island is all there is, ever was, or ever will be.”

One day a bottle washed up on the beach. An islander picked it up and discovered that a sheet of paper with writing on it had been placed inside. Opening the bottle, he read a four word message: “Help is coming soon.” What could this mean? The islanders didn’t know they needed help. Who could have sent it? And why? A week later another bottle washed ashore with another message. Then another bottle came, and another. Over a period of several weeks, over a dozen bottles floated to shore, each one containing a short message:

,. We’ll be there soon. Don’t despair.

,. Trust in your coming deliverance.

,. A beautiful home has been prepared for you on the mainland.

,. Be patient, and keep your eyes on the eastern horizon.

,. Until we get there, treat one another with love and respect.


Some concluded that this had to be a hoax. “Someone is playing a trick on us,” they said. “Pay no attention to those messages.” Others studied the messages carefully, submitting them to scientific analysis. What kind of paper was used? What kind of ink? Were the messages written by the same or different authors? When were the messages written? Some even got advanced degrees in literary analysis. Others tried to give a natural explanation. “Our own ancestors obviously wrote those messages,” they said. “They must have believed that people somewhere out there needed their help so years ago they put messages in bottles and put them in the ocean. Now the bottles have simply floated back to shore.”

However, a few islanders took the messages seriously and believed what was writ- ten. The words resonated with something deep within them, awakening a yearning for something they could not quite describe. “There must be a mainland,” they concluded. “There is more to reality than this island. And someone across the ocean is concerned for our welfare and is making plans to come and deliver us from this island and take us to a place that is bigger and better.”

Many islanders made fun of these believers and ridiculed their pie-in-the-sky beliefs. But their faith only grew stronger with the passage of time. On Sunday mornings they would gather on the beach and read again the messages found in the bottles. The words brought hope and comfort and inspired faith in those who listened. They wrote songs about their home across the sea and sang them together. As they met they all kept their eyes fixed on the eastern horizon wondering if today might be the day when help would finally come.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)


For these Christians, any foreign country is a motherland,

and any motherland is a foreign country.

—the anonymous epistle to Diognetus (2nd century)


point to ponder The best definition for the ache in your soul is homesickness.

prayer focus Those who refuse to receive the Bible as God’s Word to man.


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