COULD YOU SURVIVE? lessons from a survivor

The SS Ben Lomond, a British merchant ship, was intercepted and torpedoed by a German U-172 some 750 miles off the coast of Africa in November 1942.
As the ship was sinking, Poon Lim, a Chinese sailor, took a life jacket and jumped overboard before the ship’s boilers exploded. He was in the water for approximately two hours before he found an eight foot wooden raft and climbed into it. The raft had tins of biscuits, a 40 litre can of water and a torch.

It was clear the food and water wouldn’t last long so he used the life jacket to catch rain water. He removed a wire from the torch and made a fish hook and used some hemp rope for the fishing line. He dug a nail out of the wooden raft and made a hook to catch larger fish.

He fashioned a knife from a biscuit tin to cut open the fish he caught. He dried the fish over a hemp line across the raft.  One day a large storm fouled his water and spoiled the fish.  Poon became very dehydrated and weak but managed to catch a bird and drank its blood to survive.

Knowing he needed to exercise, he swam most days tied to the raft. When he saw sharks he didn’t swim. He used scraps of a bird as bait, braided the line to make it stronger and protected his hands by wrapping them in canvas. He caught a small shark. Poon cut open the shark and drank its blood from its liver – the only fluid he had because it hadn’t rained for days. He cut slices from the shark and left them to dry.

Eventually, after 133 days in the raft,  in April 1943, Poon Lim neared land and three Brazilian fishermen rescued him. During his ordeal, Poon Lim had lost 9 kg [20 lbs] but was able to walk unaided when rescued.

Lessons for Christians from a Chinese sailor and his ordeal.

We live in a hostile world.
We wrestle against ‘principalities and powers’.
We live in constant danger.
We face storms in life.
We face ‘sharks’ that try to destroy our Christian witness.
The devil tries to rob us of our ‘food’ and ‘water’ and ‘exercise’.

But we are NOT defeated.

We are ‘more than conquerors’.
We are guaranteed victory over the devil and all his devices
when we allow our Lord His rightful place on the throne.
He will direct our thoughts and actions,
strengthen us and enable us to overcome.

But we have a responsibility.

We need to keep ourselves in spiritual trim.
We MUST take the nourishment of ‘food and water’:
God’s Word and obedience to His will.
We MUST exercise in prayer.
These are our lifeline, without which we are helpless.

Sometimes, as was Poon Lim, we might be isolated. How important at such times to have the Word safely stored in our minds and our hearts! 

Would I survive 133 days of isolation in danger? 
Certainly not without spiritual food, drink and exercise.

About meetingintheclouds

I am Cloudwatcher, a 76 year old Christian lady, happily married to a wonderful man for over 50 years. We have five wonderful sons, all with at least one University degree and in top positions in their chosen fields. One son is still single but four have found perfect wives and they have given us five lovely grandchildren. I was born in England and while I'm proud of my English heritage, I am doubly proud to be a true-blue, fair-dinkum Aussie. My husband and I are committed Christians whose first priority is to love and serve our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. My life story will tell of my journey from abuse to peace. I suffered 22 years of abuse, being constantly told I was totally evil and an ugly freak: no one would ever want me, so I might as well do the world a favour and kill myself.
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22 Responses to COULD YOU SURVIVE? lessons from a survivor

  1. Ann says:

    Thank you, Angela

    Would I survive? Short answer
    Long answer: only by His grace!

    I can’t imagine being 40 days in isolation, like He did, let alone 143. … Thanks for encouraging my thoughts. It’s good to know that even though I feel alone at times, I know that He is with me and I am never alone!

    God bless you,


    • “Never alone” . . . so true! No matter what difficulties we find ourselves in, we are not alone. We are guaranteed the REALITY of His presence, His guidance, His provision – all we need.
      What an amazing God!


  2. Gloria says:

    truly inspiring. Never ever give up!


    • When we have experienced the REALITY of being a child of God we are unlikely to give up, but we do all too often ignore the help that is always available and waiting to be used. Our FIRST action should be to seek Him.


      • Gloria says:

        amen! God should be our first response to any situation – not our last resort.

        All too often I have witnessed that when the going gets rough some give up — usually with a “Oh it must not be God’s will” mentality. When in fact it is all part of the process. Tough times walked through with God beside me have prepared me for things ahead. Some times God calms the storm but many times He calms His child in the midst of a raging storm — thus never ever give up – He is right with us and the storm will eventually cease.


        • Exactly. With hindsight we can look back and see that the stormy times were indeed blessings because God used them to “grow” us and to draw us closer to Himself. I can’t say I welcome problems, but with hindsight I praise God for them.


  3. ron says:

    loved the story of courage and survival , ingenuity and a will to live. I dont know how I would have been in that situation, probably no were near as resourseful. Thank you meetinginthe clouds


    • Thanks Ron. His survival holds a few “records” and his techniques are used in Navy training manuals.
      I think most of us would be less resourceful, but let’s hope we Christians value and use the resources provided for us, so that as we encounter the devices of the devil we will be fully equipped. As we look to Him and allow Him to control us, we are guaranteed victory in His name and power.


  4. Freedomborn says:

    Thank you Angela what a powerful story, I must bring it to Ron’s attention I’m sure if he has not heard it before will be very encouraged.

    In Christ Jesus we have all the Armour as the Scriptuers tell us, He is The Living Word, He is our Sword, Shield and Helmet, He is all we need and He teaches us His Truth through the empowering of The Holy Spirit as we read God’s inspired word, which He uses to confirm His Truth. We never have to fear in our Unity with Jesus Christ.

    Christian Love Anne.


    • He is indeed all we need Anne, and He has supplied everything we need. It is our responsibility to take and use what He has provided, and put on the whole armour He has supplied. When we do, trusting Him, we are ‘more than conquerors’.

      What an amazing God!


  5. Stephen says:

    Interesting, I had planned to go to Norway this week – but other priorities have kept me here in Sweden. In WWII my uncle Ted was twice torpedoed off the coast of Norway (once in the disastrous PQ17 convoy).

    Somehow he survived on both occasions, but he could never speak about it – the horror was too great.


    • I’m sure the horror was great and can understand the reluctance to live it again in speaking about it.
      On the other hand, I can’t help thinking about the “horror” from which we have been saved and the compulsion to speak about it to warn those still floundering. We must remain obedient to the call.
      Norway/Sweden – either would do me! Enjoy!


  6. Rob Barkman says:

    It newver ceases to amaze me how we, as Christians, how quickly we become spiritually weak when we are not feeding from His Word. Over the years, I have personally found that if I am not in His Word daily, I will be spiritually weak throughout the day. It is so important to start (and end) our day in His Word.

    2Tim 3:16-17 (KJV)
    16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.


    • I agree. The Word and communion with Him are essential as we face life. Without Him and the reality of His presence and empowerment, we are helpless.

      I love 2 Tim 3:16-17 and especially the way Warren Wiersbe puts it –
      doctrine – what is right
      reproof – what is wrong
      correction – how to get right
      instruction – how to stay right.

      What an amazing God!


  7. pbus1 says:

    Hi Angela,

    I enjoyed reading the lesson, and I got a lot out of the spiritual applications! Wow, this man truly endured hardness as a good soldier! Thank you so much, for sharing with us how we can do the same in our daily walks with the Lord! It was definitely food for thought. God bless you today, and every day!



    • Thanks Paulette. We are in a constant battle (if we don’t know it, then we are not where we should be) and need to ensure we receive strength for the battle from the provisions freely available from the Lord.


  8. admin says:

    Thank you for sharing. This was not just a survival story but of becoming victorious in the midst of incredible adversity. God makes the impossible, possible!


  9. Debbie says:

    I keep thinking about how he used everything that God gave him. And I loved how it spoke to you about putting on the whole armor of God. :) Wow, you really give us something to think about here , Mentor Angela! God bless you as you prepare for anything with Your Lord today!
    love and prayers!


    • Thanks Debbie. I like your thoughts on using everything God gives us. He has supplied all we need to live victoriously for Him, yet we all too often leave it unused. May we know His presence and His victory in all we face this coming week.


  10. writinggomer says:

    This was great, I like the analogy you made from the story. :)


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