I'm hoping beyond hope, that these Thoughts for the Week are still making it to y'all!! I know I've heard from a few of you, and there seems to have been a lag in the last couple of weeks. I apologize. Most of you know that technology and I are not exactly the best of friends! At any rate, if you ever think you've missed a week, you can always go to the homepage of my website (www.dallaslouis.com) and click on the box in the upper-ish right hand corner that says "Click to see Dallas' Thoughts for the Week", that will take right to the place where ALL of my Thoughts from the past several years are stored.
Okay, enough of that! I want to talk to y'all today about jumping ship. A couple of years ago, Jeff and I bought a boat. Living down here in Texas, we thought it'd be fun to have one to tool around the many lakes that we are privy to. Well, when we bought it the kids were much younger than they are now...every bit as much of the daredevils ( boys) just younger daredevils! One weekend, we were camping and boating up on Lake Sam Rayburn. I highly recommend a family camping trip up to that area. Lake Sam is one of the biggest lakes in Texas. It's big and deep. Well, we were teaching the boys how to wake-board. I think the boys were six and eight...but they could've been five and seven. Ethan (my eldest) picked it up like a fish takes to swimming. Elliott...let's just say it took him a little longer of a time. We happened to be on this little excursion with another family, who also had a boat. So, Corri would actually get in the water with the boys, help them velcro their knees into the board, and hold them upright until Jeff got our boat far enough along to put some tension in the ski rope. Over and over we did this. Once the boys got up, her honey would swing by in their boat, and pick her up. It was a great little system...until Elliott flipped over, and was upside-down, strapped to a wake board in the middle of Lake Sam Rayburn. What did I do?
I dove in after him.
No life jacket. No rational thought as to how far I actually was away from him. And taking in copious amounts of water through my nose and mouth from the wake of my own boat. In short, I was drowning. Pause right there.
Come with me to the book of Acts chapter 27. Here we meet up with the apostle Paul as he is on his way to stand trial before Caesar in Rome. His mode of transportation? A ship. The weather forecast? Hurricane force winds and torrential down pours. Should make for an interesting trip in ancient days, don't you think? For two weeks their ship is tossed around at sea like it is nothing more than a cork on the waves. There are close to three-hundred men on board this ship; most of them are there to accompany our good friend Paul. However, after two weeks of brutal weather, even the most seasoned sailors begin to lose their cool. Let's take a look at their response to this horrific storm, from The Message, "On the fourteenth night, adrift somewhere on the Adriatic Sea, at about midnight the sailors sensed that we were approaching land...Afraid that we were about to run aground, they threw out four anchors and prayed for daylight. Some of the sailors tried to jump ship..." Acts 27:27, 29 & 30 Their ship was being mercilessly tossed about in the sea. These seasoned men thought their chances of survival were better off of a sinking vessel. But Paul had a better idea. "Then Paul said to the [his] centurion and the soldiers, 'Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.'" (Acts 27:31 NIV) You see Paul had received confirmation from an angel that not one of his traveling companions would be lost in this storm. But the key to all of this, was that they had to stick together. Paul believed that. The rest of the story, in the Reader's Digest condensed version is, that ship did in fact break apart, but all 276 people on board made it to safety--just as Paul told them they would.
Now, back to my upside-down Elliott and one drowning Momma. Obviously I didn't drown. And neither did Elliott. He had on a life jacket, which worked just as it was supposed to, and popped him right back to the right side of the water. The beauty of being five or six, is that you have no fear. He could not understand why I was in the water. He had unstrapped himself, and was bobbing happily in the water, while I gagged and choked and had to be pulled out of the water by Corri onto the floor of her boat. I think I coughed up lake water for two months. Jumping ship. That was my gut instinct. In times of troubled or choppy waters, do you sometimes want to jump ship? Can I offer you a lifeline? God is a most excellent and sea-worthy Admiral. He can navigate rough waters way better than we can. The next time you feel like abandoning your boat, will you first stop and take a minute to pray and ask Him what you need to do? His answer just might be to wait. His answer may be to dive in and swim for it. Or His answer just might be both. First you wait it out, build up your strength, and then swim for shore. Stop today and pray. You'll be glad you did. The account of Paul's shipwreck is a fascinating read; I encourage you to take some time over the next week to read it. See Acts 27:13-44. Have a blessed weekend.