A Virginia sea captain is sharing how God saved his life after being lost at sea.
Captain Johnny Savage, who details his story in his new book Lost in the Stream: The Miraculous Story of Two Fishermen Lost at Sea, told CBN News' Prayerlink about his harrowing experience of being lost at sea during a fishing trip nearly 24 years ago.
Savage – who was 27 and a first mate at the time – and Captain Eric Bingham decided to go on a 350-mile trip from Key West, Florida, to Cancun, Mexico, on their 56-foot sports fishing boat called the Anhinga. Both fishermen decided against putting an emergency locator or life raft in the boat's cockpit.
"If we do that, that means we'll just have to clean it when we get there. Nothing ever happens during the daytime. And that was our mindset," Savage recalled thinking.
Hours later, they faced a storm in the middle of the Gulf Stream. About 90 miles into their voyage, a massive wave tore their vessel in two.
"We looked in front of us; it was like nothing I've ever seen before in my life," Johnny recalled. "It was like a hole. We were in a two-to-three-foot sea when the Anhinga went off this edge and went down into this, this rogue wave, the whole boat fell into it."
Additionally, both fisherman's radios were dead while the lifeboat, lifejackets, and locator beacon were inside the sinking boat. Savage and Bingham spent nearly 12 hours lost at sea while holding onto a broken surfboard.
"We were 90 miles out in the middle of the Gulf Stream, and nobody knew where we were," he added.
At one point, Savage thought about committing suicide after remaining afloat for hours.
"I got to the point where I had made a decision that drowning would be better than getting ripped apart by sharks. So, I had planned my death," he explained.
Right when he was about to do so, however, the presence of the Holy Spirit came upon him.
"And so, I had taken my life jacket off," Savage explained. "And I was in the process of going under, and suddenly, the greatest feeling of warmth and just strength, power just overcame my whole body."
"In that moment, I knew He was real, and He was with me because it was impossible for me to have the strength to get back to Eric," he added. "The overwhelming feeling of warmth was not me, and I knew He is real."
Moments later, a 72-foot fishing boat found them and rescued them.
Savage believes that God is the reason he and his captain survived to tell the tale.
"You couldn't tell me God wasn't real," he said.
Savage told CBN News that he hopes his book glorifies God and helps people who have considered suicide.
"I think we're in a time where people need hope," he said. "People need to know that no matter how bad things look in front of you, you can have hope that it'll work because it's all part of His plan."
According to CBN News, at least four people have refrained from committing suicide after reading Savage's new book.
"If I could take and give every person a drop, just a mustard seed of that faith that I had in that moment, it would carry them through whatever trial comes in their life," Savage said.
"Don't cut God short. He has a plan to work in your life," he contended. "Just as it says in James 1, you need to go through that trial and see what God is going to work and do in you."
Photo courtesy: ©Matt Hardy/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.