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Sunk without a trace

Spurlos Versenkt.

The phrase was emblazoned across posters featuring an artist’s rendition of the sinking of the British hospital ship Llandovery Castle by German submarines on June 27, 1918. This tragedy so outraged the American public that the United States Department of the Treasury, War Loan Organization, printed posters to urge citizens to buy more bonds.

What does the phrase Spurlos Versenkt mean? “Sunk without a trace.”

Lately some 311,361 residents of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Yoopers) are feeling sunk without a trace. Why? Because of advertisements that don’t show the Upper Peninsula (UP) on maps of the United States.

“Impossible!” you say.

“I wish,” I respond.

In 2017 an online ticket agency left the Upper Peninsula off a US map that was the centerpiece of its ads. When a vigilant Yooper noticed the omission, the company responded by saying, “We got the important part of Michigan. Isn’t that good enough?” Ouch.

Earlier this year, Jeep paid big bucks for a Super Bowl ad. The ad focused on the geographic center of the United States, but the two maps used were both missing the UP—even though Jeep headquarters are in Auburn Hills, Mich. Double ouch.

It gets worse. In April of 2021 the US Census Bureau released a map showing which states were losing seats in Congress. Michigan was one of them. The Michigan map didn’t include the UP.

Companies, even government entities, may forget us, but not our ascended Lord Jesus.

After the last year, many people, including Christians, are feeling sunk without a trace in a far worse way. How so? The National Institute of Mental Health states that people under stay-home orders “reported significantly higher depression, GAD symptoms, and acute stress.” General Anxiety Disorder symptoms include feeling restless, being easily fatigued, having difficulty concentrating, and being irritable.

Sunk without a trace. How many of us have had bouts of loneliness and depression in the past year? Have we struggled with moments when we thought, Have you forgotten me, Lord?

If so, we won’t be the first Christians to struggle with such feelings. Over seven hundred years before Christ, during the days of the prophet Isaiah, God’s people thought they had been forgotten. “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has abandoned me. The Lord has forgotten me’ ” (Isaiah 49:14).

Isaiah recorded God’s response: “Can a woman forget her nursing child and not show mercy to the son from her womb? Even if these women could forget, I will never forget you. Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15,16).

That’s a promise to tuck away in our hearts whenever we’re feeling sunk without a trace. Companies, even government entities, may forget us, but not our ascended Lord Jesus who rules the universe (Ephesians 1:22). Our names are forever inscribed on the palms of his hands, right next to the marks left by the nails.

The Scripture references used in this article are from the Evangelical Heritage Version.

Author: Glenn Schwanke
Volume 108, Number 8
Issue: August 2021

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This entry is part 23 of 36 in the series editorial-comment

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