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Monday, March 23, 2015

Cruise Control

Sunday’s New York Times carried a remarkably detailed account of what transpires on docking days for luxury liners. If you’ve ever taken a cruise, you owe it to yourself to read this article. It will blow your lifejacket off!

To make their amazing case, and an amazing race against time, the reporter chose one of two mega ships owned by Royal Caribbean, the Oasis. It isn’t simply a a floating hotel. With six thousand passengers and 2,140 crew members, it becomes a floating city!

Rhonda and I have been blessed to cruise several times. Most have been promotional radio excursions. One was paid for by a family member whose picture we have enlarged to 8 feet by 12 feet and put in our entryway. (Just kidding.)

The first was aboard the Pacific Princess — or the “Love Boat” as it was affectionately known. Compared to the Princess Cruises of today, this would be a dwarf ship. But it no longer exists, as it was dismantled within the last couple of years.

The article I referenced offers staggering numbers about the Oasis and its twin ship, the Allure. These ships remain in port approximately twelve hours between sailings. Each sailing requires 15 thousand pounds of potatoes, 9 thousand pounds of tomatoes, 24 thousand bottles of beer, and 9 thousand soda cans. Some 25 thousand pounds of meat are chopped each week by eight butchers. All of this requires storage capacity—two dozen cold storage rooms.

An onboard reverse-osmosis desalination system produces two thousand tons of fresh water each day. A unique wastewater system processes twelve hundred TONS a day. Recycling and repurposing trash is vital and quite a feat.

Before another voyage, 93 thousand pounds of laundry must be done in one day. Some 29 thousand towels are folded by hand. Bedsheets are folded automatically. And, of course, the entire ship must be wiped down, beds remade and rooms cleaned in preparation for another six thousand coming aboard.

As you might well assume, it requires incredible planning and foresight to develop and maintain such a system. But the same could be said for many assembly plants, clothing manufacturers, and even other transportation systems. A tip of the hat to all who make this happen.

Engineering is a marvelous thing. But we have many great wonders of the world to amaze us as well. Some are man made. Others, God made.

In fact, one of the greatest and most amazing set of complex systems at work every day is…YOU! Your body has six thousand miles of blood vessels. Nerve impulses in your brain travel at 250 miles per hour. The brain can read up to one thousand words per minute. Some seven octillion atoms make up your body and are the same ones that were around at creation. Indeed…you ARE a piece of work!

Psalm 139:13-16 beautifully acclaims God’s handiwork: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (NLT)

Thinking of the marvel of cruise ship planning makes the story of Noah and the ark much more appreciable. His cruise was 40 days and 40 nights. He had no on-board laundry. No waste treatment plant. No refrigerated storage systems. Animals galore. And Mrs. Noah to keep happy.

No wonder the hyenas were laughing.

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Catch “Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand" weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life. To listen to the live broadcast or a podcast of previous shows click here.

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