By Connie Hilton Dunn © 2011
There I was—alone in the middle of Lake Palestine. I couldn’t believe my sister Linda had abandoned me. While riding wave runners, we had somehow lost track of each other. I buzzed the perimeter of the lake, enjoying the ripple of the waves, a blue heron soaring overhead. When I spotted a familiar white building, I headed that direction, but as I got closer, I realized this wasn’t the cove where my sister lived. I began to panic. I didn’t have a cell phone, sunscreen, drinking water, or a watch. I’d been on the water at least an hour, and the scorching sun was beginning to burn my arms and legs. I headed toward the center of the lake, thinking this would be a quicker way to survey the shoreline and identify a landmark.
I prayed desperately, “Lord, help me find my sister or her lake house.” I sensed a still, small voice say, Go to the shore. I steered toward the distant shore, and as I drew near, I saw kids splashing on a paddle boat. “Do any of you have a cell phone?”
“No,” they answered, staring at my sunburned face. “But our aunt is over there.” They pointed to a nearby dock where I saw several adults lounging. A woman lent me her cell phone, and I dialed my husband’s number. It rang and rang, finally transferring to voicemail. Frustrated, I left a brief message explaining my predicament.
“Do you have any water?” I asked. “I’m so thirsty.”
“Sure,” a man answered. He handed me a bottle of cold water, and I guzzled it down.
“Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.”
The aunt, on her own wave runner, volunteered to help me find my sister’s lake house. We took off, my wave runner slapping and bouncing in her wake. As I scanned the horizon, I turned to my right and spotted my brother-in-law, Ed.
“Have you had enough fun on the lake today?” he joked.
“Yes!” A deep sigh filled my heart with relief.
The next day, I pondered the lessons I’d learned:
- “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). My sister and I could have avoided the entire escapade if we had just stayed together.
- The ant “has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:7-8). A little forethought would have prepared me with bottled water, sunscreen, and a cell phone before setting out on the wave runner in 100 degree Texas weather.
- “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5b). Instead of panicking, I could have acted on God’s promise. Even though I felt alone, God was with me.
Many times in life we find ourselves in similar circumstances: scared, unprepared, and confused about the next step. We try to rescue ourselves. Rather than ask God for help, we trust in our own strength, which proves to be frail and weak. Isaiah instructs us, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21). When I stopped trying to navigate with my own wisdom and cried out to God with humility and desperation, I was able to hear his still, small voice.
In the midst of my drifting, I should have opened my eyes to see, not the S-U-N, but the S-O-N. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Son of God, instead of the lapping waves of our circumstances, we’ll be like Peter, walking on the water. So if you find yourself drifting today, I encourage you to lift up your eyes and see the Son! He is waiting with his arms wide open.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Hilton Dunn believes in pursuing life passionately. Her roles include wife, mother, systems specialist, writer, and missions enthusiast. She has a heart for prayer and short term missions trips and has traveled to Tanzania, East Africa several times. She and her husband are enjoying their empty nest in Kansas City. If you’d like to read about her Africa adventures check out her blog:
All Scripture NIV 1984.