On May 26, 2013 at 4:30 am the Jascon 4, one of three tugboats towing an oil freighter off the coast of Nigeria, started to sink. Harrison Odjegba Okene, the tugboat's 29-year-old cook, immediately knew something was wrong. As the vessel descended 100 feet to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean pitched upside down, Okene was tossed to and fro in his small quarters. He groped his way in the pitch darkness through the icy waters, finally finding a cabin with a four foot air pocket. He made a make-shift platform and stacked two mattresses together in his attempt to escape the rising water.
Dressed only in his boxer shorts, Okene sat on the mattresses and waited for help. But the thought of being rescued seemed remote. So Okene, a follower of Jesus, started to pray the Psalms: "Oh, God, by your name, save me," and "The Lord sustains my life." Okene told reporters, "I started calling on the name of God …. reminiscing on the verses I read before I slept. I read the Bible from Psalms 54 to 92. My wife had sent me the verses to read that night when she called me before I went to bed."
Two-and-a-half days later, Okene was certain the rest of the eleven man crew had drowned and that he would also drown. Then he heard the sound of rescuers and started banging on the steel walls of his cabin with a hammer. The Dutch divers who found him couldn't believe their eyes. As they reached out for a hand of a man they assumed was dead, the hand grabbed theirs.
To this day, Okene believes his rescue after 72 hours underwater was the result of divine deliverance. He told a Nigerian newspaper, "The rest of my life is not enough to thank God for this wonder. It is incredible."
Do we believe that God can work similar miracles in our and other people’s lives? Do we truly believe? Or, do we surrender to what appears to be the inevitable? If you know of a marriage that is struggling, pray. If a loved one is seriously ill, pray. If finances are stretched, pray. If ministries are struggling, pray. If hearts are hardened toward Jesus, pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Jeremiah 32:27 encourages us: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind, Is anything too difficult for me?”
Keep the faith,
Originally from Huntington Beach, CA, Tony received his Bachelor's degree in religion from USC and his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology. Tony loves spending time with his wife, Sheri, and their two sons and daughter (Bryce, Braden, and Brooke); cheering for the USC Trojan football team; and playing tennis.