Alaska Can Eat Your Lunch

Alaska can eat your lunch in a heartbeat if you’re not paying attention.

My ears went completely silent as if I’d sunk to the bottom of the deep end in a ten-foot swimming pool. The 9MM pistol we were using to shoot halibut after getting them along-side the boat discharged less than two feet from my head, and just missed puncturing the side of the inflatable Zodiac raft we were fishing in by less than one inch around! That might not have been that big of a deal had we been fishing in July in the lower 48, but this happened about five miles out in Cook Inlet, Alaska where the water temperature was cold enough to cause hypothermia in a matter of minutes, and certain death in about thirty.

Just as my friend was about to pull the trigger to shoot the large halibut, an unexpected huge wave hit the boat from behind and caused the fish to swing towards the Zodiac. At the same time, the front of the boat kicked towards the halibut causing the firearm to discharge before he was ready.

The two of us just looked at each other, both realizing at the same moment how close we’d just come to becoming the arctic waters “Deadliest catch!”

The day before, we launched our 13-foot Zodiac with a 25-horse Yamaha into the pounding surf out of Deep Creek, Alaska. Deep Creek is a great salmon stream, but it can go from being almost bone dry to over your head in just a couple of hours. I heard a great story about a young guy from the lower 48, wanting to prove he could cross Deep Creek in his “supped up” 4-Wheel drive, flooded his engine trying to cross a spot a little deeper than he thought. He got out, took his keys, and hitched a ride into town to find a tow-truck to come help pull him out. When the young gun returned several hours later, the only thing he found was a buoy, floating on the top of the water that a local fisherman had tied onto it so he could find it when he returned. Like I’ve said, Alaska can eat your lunch in a heartbeat if you’re not paying attention.

Just a few hundred yards where we’d launched, there were larger commercial fishing boats being launched by huge “alien looking” machines called skidders from the logging industry, into the smashing waves, then heading some 12 to 15 miles out to sea to their favorite fishing spots.

These boats were loaded with groups of fishermen paying about $300.00 a piece in hopes of catching a couple of 100 pound halibut on rented poles that they could have their picture taken while wearing their designer fishing outfits that they paid several hundred dollars for, probably never to be worn again. But, that picture will hang over their office desk for years to come, and they’ll remember just how much they hate their jobs, and how much they’d rather be out having the adventure of a lifetime.

Why did the young gun in the pickup try and cross the flooding waters of Deep Creek? Why do thousands of fishermen spend large amounts of money so they can take a picture posing with a large halibut just to have it mounted over their desk at the workplace? For some, it’s the raw adventure of it all. It makes them feel alive. For others, it’s the constant battle of trying to prove their “good enough” in an attempt to gain more worth and value through their performance.


Where in my life are these verses connecting right now, and what revelations in my life is the Holy Spirit showing me through these verses?

. . . “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.” (Romans 8:15-16, MSG)

. . . “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19-21, MSG)

. . . “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2:9, NLT)

Brent Henderson

Welcome to Men Unleashed! This is a place for encouragement and devotionals from Brent.