WALKING ON WATER ••.•• WHO BELIEVES THAT???
As a child I was brought up by loving, caring parents
that didn’t have a lot by the world’s standards. But
they were.adamount about seeing that I went to Sunday
School and church from a young age. At that time. largely
to no avail. I was from the start rebellious, and hated
authority. So much so that my Father took me into a prison
at an early age to show me. where I was going to end up at
tha rate I was going. Meanwhile the Bible stories continued
from my Grandfather, Sunday school teachers, etc. However,
I was more than a listener as I openly made fun of what they
were saying ••••
Hitting a rock and water came out for the people. The
virgin birth. The sea splitting and then swallowing up the
Egyptians. God sending hi& only son to die for us and then going
into heaven. etc. But the one thing I had the most trouble
believing was walking on water by Jesus and a disciple. Now
who in their right mind would believe that a real possibility?
By the time I reached the ripe old age of seventeen my
mind was pretty well made up as to what I believed and it
was certainly nothing that would get me into heaven. In fact
a fortune teller told me I would die before the age of 21.
So with graduation about to take place I convinced a large
group of my friends to have a graduation party. We did and
did not make it home for 3 days. When we did, I was physically
sick from the weekend and j~st wanted to rest. My Father had
other ideas. For some reason he felt it was time to start my
working career. He gave me the choice--Army, Navy, or Air Force.
This was while driving me to the recruiters. I chose the
Army to become a paratrooper. By the time we got down there
the only recruiter there was the Navy recuriter. Dad wasn’t
to chosey which branch I went in and the offer of extra pay
without jumping out of planes appealed to me. So Navy it was.
I immediately went out and talked 6 friends into
joining with me ••• we went to boot camp in San Diego, a
couple other schools, and then submarine school in Groton,
C~ In 1962 from Groton I went to Pearl Harbor to catch my
first sub. When I got there the sub was already deployed
to the Western Pacific, so I joined another sub that was
going out on an emergency mission to the Western Pacific.
We completed that deployment and when we got back I was
transferred to another boat which was asking for volunteers.
We went out again to the Western Pacific for about 7 months.
This time it was during typhoon season. The weather was
The sub I was.on was an WWII reconverted sub with
4 diesel engines. It was considered a diesel, fast attack.
The length was about 306 1 width 26 1 • It had 9 compartments;
8 in a row composed the main body, and the conning tower
sat over the control room; the lookouts were above the
conning tower. On the bottom/sides of the sub there were
tanks which are filled with air and some fuel,and some water,
or a combination of these. Balf of the tanks are closed
and half are free-flooding. Free-flooding means that they
are open to the ocean; they have holes on the bottom like
a collander; as long as the sub stays upright, the air
cannot escape these holes, but if the sub were to roll,
the air escapes and the sea rushes in and the law of gravity
takes over and the sub would sink. Should that happen the
hope would be that the sub would roll back upright (the bottom
of the sub is heavier than the top) and then the tanks could
be blown with high pressure air to expell the seawater and
bring the sub back to the surface. Before this would be
accomplished however, the sub would sink many hundreds of
feet below the surface.
Anyway, we were in the northern western pacific during
typhoon season and there was a storm coming in behind us.
Now a lot·of people ask “Why don’t subs just dive down
under during a storm where its nice and calm? The answer
is, it’s not nice and calm down there any more than it is
on the surface. We stay on top because if the sub rolls and
goes under, there is a better chance of righting itself in
time, before reaching crush depth than if it rolled while
under the water.
Normally we would have turned 90% to the typhoons path
to let it go past us. Unfortunately, land considerations
prevented this, so we had to try and outrun it. Now a
WWII diesel sub is just not fast enough to outrun a
typhoon, and soon we were in the middle of it. At all times
underway, one-third of the crew are on watch, and during
this watch I was the port lookout, which meant I was on top
of the submarine out in the storm. Within a few feet of me
were the starboard lookout and the officer of the deck, and
because of the weather we were chained in place to prevent
us from being washed overboard. All hatches were dogged shut
and our only communicatio.n was with .the. Chief of the Boat (COB) ( COW)
in the control room~lMC, ~MC or JA. The Chief of the Watch (COW)
was responsible to man the airtanks and control the Christmas
Tree--which is a board on the port side of the ship with red
and green lights that indicate the tank doors being open to
sea (red) or green shut.
The reason we had to be out there was to be the eyes
of the ship, as radar and sonar were not useable in this
type of situation. At this time waves were breaking 30-50•
feet over my head. Have you ever seen The Perfect Storm?
It was kind of like that, but darker. You could see the
outline of the waves, sleeting rain, and white spray. And
it was very, very cold.
The waves were huge and the bow was rising and dropping
40-60 feet as it crested the waves. A wave broke over us
and then ~nother one came immediatsiy, and sent the sub
into a roll to port that would have sent us plummeting into
the depths. The thought crossed. my mind to undo the chains
that held me to the boat so that I might live a little longer
but then I thought no, my family should have a body to bury.
I scrambled so that my fingers were in the decking where my
feet were standing: moments pefore, as the ship continued to
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roll.A In the dark, knowing I was about to die, I said
Jesus please forgive me. And at that moment I realized that
I was walking on water. I still remember the blue green color
of the water as it was beneath mj feet, and the feeling of
absolute peace. I had never felt~ffii that before. I don’t
know how long the sub stayea in that position, but the next
thing that happened is nothing short of a miracle. From
this positipn. in which it was impossible for it to correct
i ts el~, the sub rolled back over and righted itself.
Afterwards I talked to the COB/COW. He said that his
feet were on the Christmas tree and the overhead (ceiling).
His belief was that everyone topside had been killed and
he was trying to find reliefs. He could not understand how
we had righted ourselves without going down at least a couple
of hundred feet. No one from a,n educated, science approach could
explain it--it was simply impossible for ~t to roll that much
an.d correct its elf without going under. They di dn I t understand
it~-to the point where they didn’t want to talk about it--
if people don’t understand something, they don’t like to talk
about it. These people I talked to were highly trained,
educated people who knew every part of the submarine inside
and out, blindfolded.
From that point on I trusted God with my life, but it was
not for some years later that while attending Triangle Baptist
Church I heard a sermon that made a difference too. Brother
Bob, who was filling in for the Pastor, was speaking about
trusting and obeying, saying that trusting will get you by,
but obeying will make you happy. This was the point at.which I
actually commited my life to the Lord--up to this point I had
been trusting but not obeying.
Clearly God has a sense of humor. He not only had me
walking on water, he had me walking on water with a submarine
over my head.. So when the Bible says something, believe it.