Vacations are supposed to be filled with leisure…but, often, they are overtaken by adventure, crisis, disaster, and surprise. Whether it is a hook in the head or a rupturing appendix, the unexpected is always lurking. Every year, our family vacations for a week at my parents’ lake cabin near Park Rapids, MN. There is little that is more relaxing than the family fishing from the pontoon on a beautiful, sunny, calm day.
“Hey! That’s where I was fishing."“You moved, it’s my spot now.”
“Hey I was sitting there!”
“Mom! He ate all of the cookies!"
“Can someone help me with a worm?”
“Can someone help me with a minnow?”
“Can someone use this rod until they catch a fish and then reel it in…and then hand it to me so I can have my picture taken with it and say that I caught it?”
“Dad! I just dropped my rod in the water?”
“Dad! I just hooked the seat cushion!”
“Dad, I have a hook stuck on my shorts…and shirt…and hand."
See what I mean…super relaxing.
While fishing on one, particularly pleasant, summer afternoon, a very sudden squall came up. We had been fishing near the west shore along a point, so we couldn’t see the storm building to the west. The next thing we knew…we were being pounded. I had attempted to motor along the shore to shield us from the wind…but as we approached the point…I could see what the winds were doing to the waves…and there was no way I was going to attempt to take us there, out into the open water.
The storm continued to build. We were being pounded with heavy rain, some hail, and winds that felt like they could capsize the pontoon. Through the storm, I could hear the voices of my children crying and screaming…(ages 2, 4, 6, and 8). In the midst of all of the chaos…I heard the voice of our 8 year old crying out…“Jesus save us!!!” A man ran down on his dock, nearby, and waved us in. I steered the vessel in to the wind and buffeted the waves. As I reached the dock, he and I quickly tied up the boat. My wife and kids ran to the man’s cabin. My children were scared and wet…and to top things off the man and his wife have a dog…a big dog…my kids hated and were deathly afraid of dogs (at the time).
We waited out the storm in the couple’s cabin. We were soaked, tired, and still amped up on adrenaline. The storm passed as quickly as it came.Later, as we returned to the boat…and eventually to the cabin, I was reminded of several stories in the Scriptures. I, of course, was reminded of when Jesus calmed the storm. But there is another one. There is a story in the Gospel of John. John 6:16-21 tells the story about Jesus walking on water. We often recall the miraculous event of Jesus walking on the water…but, often, we overlook, how the disciples were all in a boat…fighting the waves…terrified for their lives (Matthew acct. 14:22-32). Peter, at one time, begins to walk on water, himself, toward Jesus, but before he gets very far, he becomes afraid and he begins to sink. His words were near the exact same words of my 8 year old daughter…“Jesus save me.”
I think that it is times like these in our lives, when we are most buffeted by life’s waves, that we are most ready to see Jesus for who he really is. When Peter is sinking…he has only one hope…it’s Jesus. Peter is sinking…Jesus is not sinking…who can save him?...Jesus. When life bashes us with waves…Jesus is there to take our hand…and as we find in John 10:28…“No one can snatch us from his hand.”
May you find Jesus…standing firm on the shaky ground of your life…as your life is buffeted by the wind…may you call out for him and find your hand in his hand.