Some very unusual hostages are being held by an unusual captor this week in Antarctica. The hostages? 74 scientists, tourists, and crew on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy. The captor? Ice.
The Shokalskiy, a research vessel studying climate change in Antarctica, fell victim to one of the great dangers of Antarctic travel – ice can close in and freeze around you quickly. Ships stuck in ice are very vulnerable. Icebergs beneath the surface can rip open the hull, severe winds can break ships into pieces, and the pressure of the ice pushing on the hull can crush it.
With all those dangers, several attempts were made at rescuing the crew. “Ice breaker” ships have failed to reach the Shokalskiy, though, because the ice keeps freezing too fast around them and they have to retreat to warmer water! After all, they don’t want to get stuck too!
Ice setting in is a real danger, but did you know that sin often creeps in the same way?
Sometimes we don’t notice sin setting in around us. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ disciples were not being alert. Jesus asked them, “Why are you sleeping?…Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Being idle can cause sin to set in around us.
Other times, sin creeps in when we try to help others. In Galatians 6:1, Paul tells those who are spiritual to restore those who have been “caught in any trespass.” Nevertheless, he warns them to look to themselves so that they do not also fall into the same temptations! The “ice” of sin can close in around “ice breakers” too!
New Year’s is a great time to ask ourselves, “Has sin set in around me?” Or, “Have I gotten stuck in some sin that I was trying to help others avoid?” The passengers of the Shokalskiy are getting airlifted to safety via helicopter this week. And I’m sure those passengers will be safe and warm once they are out of Antarctica. But there is only one way to truly be airlifted to eternal safety…and that is being in Christ.