Out fishing and catching a lot of fish with my friend Jim, on a sunny, cool, spring morning . . . Things don’t get much better than that! But they can get much worse.
The rowboat was small, and the seats were low, for a couple of old guys. Because of that we sat up lawn chairs over the seats so we would be more comfortable.
My friend was in the back of the boat, and I was in the front, facing away from him. As I sat quietly, enjoying the opportunity to soak in the scene that I was a part of, the silence was broken as I heard Jim say, “Oh no” . . . In an instant, we found ourselves in the lake instead of our boat.
We had fallen in just a few short feet from our boat, and we were fairly close to shore. However, because of the weight of our cloths and jackets, we found ourselves bobbing like a pencil bobber . . . weighed down by our feet, we were sinking a little with each bob. Because of that, we were unable to swim the short distance to the boat, let alone get into the boat.
After trying, for what seemed to be forever, I watched Jim’s panicked eyes. With each bob, his nose sank closer and closer to the water. I needed to do something fast! Even though there was no one in sight, I began to yell. “Help! Help!” Then suddenly I stopped yelling.
As I struggled, gasping for air, I shouted out: “We need to pray!” With that, I cried out loud, in desperation, “Lord, we need your help, give us the strength to get into the boat.” What I didn’t pray was, “If it be Your will”. After praying, I expected God to help . . . I anticipated that God would give me an ability that was beyond my own . . . And He did.
I grabbed the oar that was floating near me and swung it over Jim’s direction. Using the oar, I struggled to float him to the back of the boat where he was able to grab ahold and hang on. With the help of the oar, I was able to make it back to the boat. Then, somehow, I was able to swing the rear of the boat, with Jim hanging on, toward the sumac looking branches that were sticking out of the water. Jim was able to grab a branch, pull himself over and stand on the submerged limbs.
I was on the side of the boat that was facing away from shore. After a struggle. I was eventually able to throw my leg over the half submerged boat and roll in.
Needless to say, I was exhausted! The water was cold . . . I found my teeth chattering as I talked. Unable to warm up on top of my exhaustion, I was left shaking, uncontrollably, for the full 45 minute ride home . . . But we were safe!
Looking back on that terrifying situation, I learned that on a normal day, I don’t pray with the same intensity as when I found myself crying out to God from the water. Sometimes my prayer almost becomes an exercise of duty, rather than an intimate time of expectation . . . I pray safe things . . . If I pray at all.
Quite often as I pray, at some point, I’ll find myself uttering the words, “If it be Your will God”. I’m confident that there’s nothing wrong with yielding to the Lord in that way . . . Even Jesus Himself, in the garden of Gethsemane, Cried out to God, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Yet, I want to be careful that I never use, “If it be Your will” as, “a way out”, for God . . . or even a way out for me, demonstrating my lack of faith . . . as though I don’t really expect a positive response from God.
In the 10th chapter of the book of Joshua, Joshua pushed the envelope when he prayed. Talk about thinking big! He prayed for the sun to stand still . . . His plea and his faith was spectacular enough for God to say, “There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man”.
I often wonder how many times I limit the Lord’s working in my life because of my lack of faith . . . or, my lack of expectation. Joshua’s cry to God was made to the unchanging God. He is the same God that I bow before. He hasn’t changed!
The times I cry out to God, as I did from outside of my boat, needs to be a part of my life, even when I find myself in safe spots. It shouldn’t take times of desperation for me to understand my urgent need for extraordinary faith . . . I need that kind of faith to live live for God in an honoring way, each day.
I am a child of the King . . . He has so much more for me to accomplish than what I am now trusting Him for.
Creator God, help me to be discontent with the ordinary. Give me the discipline to cry out to You, expecting the extraordinary!
Joshua 10:12 At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel. (biblegateway.com, ESV)
More than just a believer in God, I need to be a follower of Jesus!